GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
What are you thankful for? For some, it’s the sunshine, and the shelter. “They give me a reason to be alive today. To wanna get up in the morning,” said Daniel Reynolds who stays at the Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley shelter.
Columbia University predicts a 45% increase in homelessness due to Covid, and Homeward Bound has already felt the impact. Director of the shelter, Jesse Redmond says, “This is a problem we all face in the community. I mean, from one month to the next, anyone one of us could end up in this situation.”
Jesse says over 3,000 people were served at this location last year, and over 3,500 this year, but the need has increased, and so has the seemingly, invisible population from the invisible invader. “They have an isolation room. As a matter of fact, I was isolated for a couple of days. About a week, actually. Just to be sure on the safe side. Didn’t want to affect the community here,” said Reynolds. Redmond says, “Separate air ventilation system so we can quarantine up to 12 individuals in isolation pods should that need arise.”
Jesse also says the shelter offers 120 warm beds, they also served over 95,000 meals last year, and 110,000 this year. Various news outlets across Colorado reported record-breaking hot temperatures on Saturday and Sunday, and record-breaking cold on Tuesday possibly, driving even more of the people vulnerable to the elements to use shelters. Daniel says, “People are wet and cold, you know? And, it gets down to your bones. I mean you’re just so cold, you can’t warm up.”
The need for the warm bed has gone up, and the shelter on North Avenue combined with Pathways Village has increased the beds up to 270. Jesse says, “The Pathways Family Shelter will house families, and women while this North Avenue shelter will remain for men. We already have 13 families, and over 30 individuals that are there with children.”
An increase in homelessness doesn’t have to mean a decrease in hope. “Not having hope is a big thing, and with the shelter, Homeward Bound gives here, they give me that. They give me hope,” said Reynolds.