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Shelter from the storms

Advocates for the homeless have reached a major milestone by securing a permanent, single winter shelter location for unhoused residents of Ashland — and a permit and lease for the next three years. Not only that, but the new facility will accommodate 45 people, up from 34 in the previous shelter operation that shifted between four locations on different nights of the week.

The new shelter will open Nov. 1 and stay open through March. The hours will be the same every night — 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. — which means predictability and stability, a rare thing for people who spend their days outside.

The shelter at the former Rogue Valley Church at 2082 E. Main St. was a long time coming, with multiple organizations and individuals involved in repairing the building, outfitting the small kitchen and building an outdoor smoke shed. Options for Helping Residents of Ashland and everyone else involved deserve congratulations for their perseverance.

Like other successful shelters, admission is by application, and only vetted guests who are issued a reservation will be admitted. Admission is based on the level of need and vulnerability, not who applies first. Reservations are issued for the entire season or until the person secures housing. And that’s the goal.

A case manager will help residents obtain vital documents, jobs and housing.

None of this is possible without volunteers, so if you want to help, attend an orientation from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, in Wesley Hall at First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main St.

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