In advance of the winter shelter season, the Town of Amherst is pleased to announce that Craig’s Doors will be opening a new 24-hour shelter November 1st for those experiencing homelessness.
Craig’s Doors has secured a 24-hour shelter for people in need at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst (UUSA) at 121 North Pleasant Street.
“Our most vulnerable community members deserve safe indoor space for the winter. We thank Craig’s Doors and the Unitarian Universalist community for working together to make this space available,” said Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman. “The Town is pleased to play a role in supporting these two groups in bringing this solution forward.”
Craig’s Doors has worked tirelessly to keep residents of its former shelter space safe since the onset of COVID-19. Securing a new space was a high priority to meet the new needs presented by the pandemic.
Town staff including representatives from the Town Manager’s office, and including staff from the Public Health, Fire, Emergency Management, and Police Departments is assisting with the planning of the shelter, securing resources, and working with Craig’s Doors on operational details. Health and safety protocols to minimize the risk of transmission in the congregate shelter will be in place. Director of Senior Services Mary Beth Ogulewicz and Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek coordinated activities on the Town’s side.
The shelter will be staffed 24/7 by Craig’s Doors staff, which plans to accommodate up to 16 guests and will provide on-site meals. Guests will also have access to medical care, counseling, job and housing assistance, laundry services, and case management through Craig’s Doors, who will continue to operate their administrative site on the grounds of the First Baptist Church.
Kevin J. Noonan, Executive Director of Craig’s Doors, noted, “It is a warm, accommodating space, already the home of Wednesday breakfasts which are jointly provided in partnership with the UUSA, which will continue. Our guests are familiar with the location and it’s known as a place of welcome.”
The COVID 19 pandemic provided an opportunity to explore new options for emergency shelter services. The new model provides:
- Access 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week
- Case management to find permanent housing
- Health care support in close proximity
“We hope to continue to improve health outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness,” Noonan noted. This includes:
- No positive Covid-19 cases to date
- Overall improvement in health
- Ongoing access to permanent housing through case management
- Decline in the numbers of those sleeping rough on streets
Those interested in volunteering or donating Welcome Kits including bus passes, socks, hats, water bottles, energy bars and notes of welcome or other financial assistance towards food and other supplies should contact Kevin Noonan at Kevin@craigsdoors.org
David Ziomek, Town of Amherst email@example.com