GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Some of the most vulnerable victims in the Covid-19 pandemic are largely the invisible victims of the crisis, the homeless. HUD reports last January on a single night, about 568,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States, and 30% of those people are families. If that thought is hard to imagine, what about knowing that some families right here in the county won’t have a place to call home for Thanksgiving? Jesse Redmond is the developmental director for Homeward Bound, including Pathways Family Shelter. Jesse says, “This year with the opening of Pathways, the number of families we are serving has gone up sharply.” “It’s the first fully, trauma informed homeless shelter built in the Western United States,” said Homeward Bound Chairman, Bill Wade.
That means homeless families staying at Pathways Shelter have their privacy and their good health because this one of a kind family shelter has one heck of a Covid test. Bill says, “With money donated we purchased, as far as I know, the only, absolutely complete 10 minute rapid nasal test in Western Colorado.”
Pathways staff gets tested twice a week and residents once weekly with no reported issues. If a resident tests positive, they’re quarantined in a motel room, provided three meals a day, and wellness checks everyday because Homeward Bound’s business is the well being of the most vulnerable; way before the pandemic. “We’ve been doing it in the Grand Valley for 20 years, and up until this year, we’ve been doing it with a single shelter which is 7,200 square feet. It housed men, women, and families. This new facility which we opened in the early part of August this year is 18,600 square feet,” said Wade.
A lot of things have changed during this pandemic, but one thing that will never change is the human need to help others, and because of that human need, Pathways shelter now has triple the space, and plenty of food to go around. “We serve over 100,000 meals here at Homeward Bound including almost 120,000 meals last year. That was already a 30% increase from the year before, which was almost the same increase from the year before that,” said Redmond.
The need for a helping hand is increasing, but thanks to the warm hearts of private foundations, the state, and community members, these families will have a lot more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
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