For the past 13 years, the Torres Shelter in Chico has opened it's doors to the homeless community.. Serving those going through substance abuse treatments, with a mental health issue, or those without work. And this year, with the unemployment rates so high, they are on track to set a new record.. A whopping 30,000 'nights of stay', which is about 83 people a night.
Shelter Executive Director Brad Montgomery says, "When there's a limited amount of jobs out there.. When the economy has been struggling for so long, people that were just holding onto the bottom.. Are going to be knocked off." Like Redding resident Tiffany Culter. Her husband and four children were forced to move into the shelter after she was put on bed rest during her latest pregnancy. And without two incomes, they couldn't afford to pay the rent.
Culter says she never thought she'd be in this situation, but is extremely thankful for the roof over her head. "Without it, we literally don't know what we would be doing right now," she says.
Same goes for Dean Roberson and Tom Gaugush, who say the no charge, 120 bed, 15 staff member facility has been a life saver for them. "I'd be in a sleeping bag behind some bushes or something and that's not safe," says Roberson. Gaugush says, "They keep you motivated to try and find things. Whether it's a job or a place to stay.. They help you manage your money."
But these services wouldn't be available if it weren't for the community. Montgomery says, "The way we've been able to... Keep the stability and know that were going to be secure and be here for them, is people in the community, stepping up."
And he says without the 70% of their funding from the community, they wouldn't be able to keep the doors open for all those who need a safe, dry place to sleep. Gaugush says, "I'm blessed to be here. I'm truly, truly blessed to be here and I have a future and a hope because I'm here."
The Torres Shelter Christmas tree auction and holiday benefit is tomorrow. To purchase tickets or for more information on how to donate.. You can find the shelter's website on our website, under news links.