Just in time for cold winter weather, Our Daily Bread Ministries has been offering overnight shelter at its Harold Street location for about a week now.
Director Mike Justice was excited and encouraged that the front of the building had been converted to a sleeping area with 13 bunks, a TV, reading materials and a few amenities. Justice noted that the County has issued an emergency shelter permit.
“We’ve been legally providing shelter while we’re working to get our Rescue Mission status,” he said.
The shelter features walled-off area for women and their children and a monitor stays on site at all times. The mattresses are sealed in a moisture-proof liner and linens are washed daily. The space is heated and ceiling fans circulate the warm air.
Justice said now that it’s open nightly, he is working with the Sheriff’s Office and City Police to notify people in need that the shelter exists.
“The most we have had in here so far is seven people,” he said, “but we have 13 beds.”
He said improvements are being made as part of the permitting requirements to become a rescue mission. The mission will expand step by step, and staff hopes to someday have 56 bunks available.
“This year, we’re just meeting the need,” he said, noting that it will be important to get the word out that the shelter is available.
He said that of local providers, the emergency shelter is the most lax about rules, but is still firm in implementing them.
“You come, you get a bed. At 10 o’clock, we shut it down and everybody goes to bed,” he said. “Then you have breakfast, spend the day out and come back in.”
However, as a non-profit organization, costs add up as well. Justice said as it takes in more people, the cost of utilities rapidly increases, so any contributions are appreciated and help to keep people off the streets at night.
“We are a church,” he explained, “and our congregation is the poor.”
Donations may be dropped off at Our Daily Bread, 1135 Harold Street.