Faith-based organizations in downtown Milford are partnering together this winter to make sure those in our community who are less fortunate are safe. Circle of Light, the Milford Ministerium, the Milford Church of the Nazarene are working together to create an Emergency Cold Shelter for the homeless in our community. The Emergency Cold Shelter will provide temporary shelter for up to 10 homeless men and 10 homeless women when the local temperature reached below 25 degrees. Volunteers at the shelter will provide hospitality, an evening meal, a light breakfast, and caring.
Pastor Kevin Bowers admits that the Emergency Cold Shelter is just a band aid on the overall problem of homelessness. “A significant percentage of homeless people are unsheltered and vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite. This program is a small step in addressing the larger problem of homelessness,” stated Pastor Bowers.
This program still needs volunteers and is awaiting the final approval by the Fire Marshall but the supporters of the shelter are continuing to push forward with plans. The program consists of three components; intake at Circle of Light, shelter at the Milford Church of Nazarene, and volunteer groups. The Circle of Light will provide intake at its office at 129 N. W. Front Street where guests will fill out an information sheet, medical forms, liability waivers and sign to agree to shelter program rules. These rules include: agreeing to a check for outstanding warrants and sex offenders lists, a pocket search, breathalyzer test, random drug tests, and the security of medications, knives and other property at the discretion of the intake staff. Guests will be required to shower and will be given hygiene kits and clothing. Intake will begin at 4:00 pm when the shelter is declared open and by 6:00 pm guests will be transported to the shelter.
The program will depend on volunteer teams from local churches or residents willing to help. The teams will prepare the meals and will be encouraged to interact with guests. At least two people, one male and one female, must remain overnight. The Circle of Light is seeking people to fill the following position: Program Supervisor, to oversee the program, and Volunteer Coordinator, to train and oversee volunteers.
Pastor Bowers hopes to get this program up and running as soon as possible and believes that the program can be used as a tool to transition people from homelessness to housing. “The ultimate goal for us all is to break the cycle of homelessness for these people. We want to help them permanently change their lives,” commented Pastor Bowers. A planning meeting will be held December 2 at the Church of the Nazarene in Milford at 7:00 pm. Pastor Bowers welcomes all to come and help support the shelter.