Give what you can

Two Chico shelters need funds and volunteers to stay open.

Two of Chico’s homeless shelters are in danger of closing their doors due to a lack of resources and it’s going to take the will of the community to keep their operations solvent.

As we wrote about last week, the Torres Community Shelter, Chico’s longtime “dry facility,” cannot rely on the grant funding that has sustained it over the years. It needs an infusion of cash immediately, plus a regular donor base to continue to provide shelter each day, every day, to some of our community’s neediest residents, including families with children. That facility serves more than 700 people annually and is a vital part of the local service community.

Now this week we’ve learned that Chico’s temporary winter shelter, Safe Space, is also in dire straits, although that organization is mainly in need of volunteers. The program, which rotates among area churches, has so few people aiding its efforts that it’s in jeopardy of not being able to continue through the end of this month.

That would be a real shame.

Safe Space is a “low barrier shelter” that provides meals and a place to sleep for the folks in the local homeless community who may have trouble accessing services for various reasons, such as substance-abuse problems or their ownership of companion animals. Those are just a few of the reasons they may be barred from laying down their heads at traditional homeless facilities (see Evan Tuchinksy’s story on page 8).

The rotating shelter is organized by the Chico Housing Action Team, which is putting out a call for helpers. About 50 people who would otherwise spend the night on the streets go to sleep in a warm, dry place with full bellies, thanks to CHAT, an all-volunteer organization. As we know from recent reporting in this newspaper, a number of homeless individuals have succumbed to the elements over the past couple of months. That is unacceptable.

Please consider, if not a monetary donation, a contribution of time to these worthy organizations. Help them help the needy.