Jan 27, 2016 12:05 PM by News Staff
After providing nearly two decades of service to the homeless community in Chico the Torres Shelter may be shutting down.
The Torres Board of Directors announced Tuesday they've made cuts to stay open for at least six more weeks.
To give an idea of just how many people the Torres Shelter helps per night, lines to get in the facility usually stretch around the building with limited room for entrants
Board Members said they are scrambling to figure out what to do to stay afloat after that 6 week period.
Shelter Director Brad Montgomery said the holiday season donations were lower than anticpated.
He went on to say that as the leanest time of the year for homeless services approaches, the Torres Shelter may be forced to close their doors for good.
"We don’t have the reserves left over and we don’t know if more funds will be coming in," he said.
Montgomery said the shelter is in crisis mode, citing three contributing factors to the decline of the shelter; an increase in demand, a lack of reserve funds in the bank that the shelter relies on during particularly tough stretches and the loss of the federal emergency solutions grant, a grant provided by the U.S. government used to assist street outreach, emergency shelter, homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing assistance
“They announced that they’re making so many more changes that they had to delay the NOFA (Notice of Funding Availability) coming out," he said.
Without the notice of funding availability, the new criteria and application period are postponed. Montgomery said it's time to stop relying on government grants as a source of income and continuously raise money as they go. Unfortunately, they've always had at least a month surplus in the bank until now.
The building provided by the city allowed the organization to serve more than 700 people last year, who on average stay 47 days.
In order to stay open for at least six more weeks, Montgomery said he had to lay-off three staff members and cut hours for the 16 remaining. Adjusting to operating with a limited staff and increased demand, he said the community gives him hope.
"A lot of support a lot of calls from the community of people who want to help," he said.
Remaining positive, Montgomery said this isn’t the first time it's happened to the Torres shelter, but with any luck it will be the last. Back in 2008 they were able to bounce back from a similar crisis which he says ultimately made them stronger.
"I believe honestly in my heart that we can stop the escalation of homelessness in our community," he said.
On a positive note, the community is coming through asking what they can do to help. Montgomery said one of the best things to do is sign up to be a monthly donor, as little as $10 per month goes a long way for the shelter.
Anyone interested in signing up be a donor can visit visit actionnewsnow.com and find the Torres Shelter in web links.
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