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Ten More Beds!

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Warming Shelter

Thanks to you, ten beds line the walls at the warming shelter in downtown Burlington. The shelter opened in early November and will close at the end of March.

Thanks to you, Spectrum opens a warming shelter for the cold winter months

Last winter was rough.

With shelters full across the region and a long waiting list for Spectrum’s 25 beds, we often had to turn young people away who needed somewhere to sleep.

“It was heartbreaking having to close the Drop-In Center at night knowing that half the youth who were leaving had no place to go,” says Allie Forward, our Drop-In Youth Coordinator. “To see them lose hope and energy and feel trapped as the weather turned colder and colder was just awful.”

“If I wasn’t at the warming shelter I would probably still be sleeping in the parking garage. It’s really been a blessing. The Burlington community has been really awesome too. People are always dropping off food at nights so we always have something to eat if we’re hungry.”

A true community effort made possible by you.

Over the summer, we looked at many locations where we might launch a shelter, but it was a visit to Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne that finally connected us to Father Lance Harlow, rector of the St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish in downtown Burlington, who agreed to let Spectrum use their Parish Hall this winter.

The Community Health Centers of Burlington, which runs Burlington’s adult warming shelter in the winter, gave us cots to use, and the UVM Medical Center volunteered to do laundry. The Argosy Foundation, Hoehl Family Foundation, Debra and Bill Gottesman, and other generous donors like you pitched in to fund it. The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf brings by food from its Good Food Truck at night, and St. Joseph’s parishioners have often donated dinner.

“I’m thankful for the warming shelter because if I wasn’t there I would be sleeping outside in the freezing cold. Before I was there I didn’t even have a sleeping bag, cause someone found it and threw it away when I left my camp. And I love the staff. They are awesome, fantastic and cool.”

The warming shelter is already full, but Allie says, “We haven’t had a situation yet where youth are leaving Drop-In without a plan. And, they’re excited to go to the shelter at night. We have great staff there, there’s a TV and they can watch movies. It’s cozy.”

“Just the basic need of having a roof over your head is the most important thing in order to get other parts of your life back together,” Will Towne, our Housing Manager, says. “Whether it’s employment, physical health, mental health, getting help with substance – it’s impossible to get those in order when you don’t have anywhere consistent to go.”

This article first appeared in the Winter 2018 Spectrum Sun, a print newsletter that is available online here.


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