Crisis Cold Weather Shelter Year-End Report
THE SHELTER IS CLOSED FOR THE 2021-2022 SEASON.
Have a passion for caring for the unsheltered in Springfield? We can use your help!
Asbury is looking for volunteers in various roles for our Crisis Cold Weather Shelter running November 1 to April 30 on nights 32 degrees and below. This is a unique low-barrier shelter that is open all genders, couples and people with pets.
Current areas to volunteer:
Evening Set-up & Check-in Assistant: 8PM-10:30PM (Wed: 6:30-9PM)
Assist with setting up cots, guest check-in, serving coffee/hot chocolate, snack.
Pet Transporter Night Shift: 8PM-9:30PM (WEDNESDAY 7pm-8:30pm)
Meet pet owners and pets at Veterans Coming Home Center (Vets), transport the pet to the Asbury shelter and stay with the animal until owner arrives on bus transport. This position requires your own vehicle appropriate for transporting a crated pet. Crates will be provided.
Pet Transporter Morning Shift: 7:30AM-8:15AM (SUNDAY 6:15AM-7AM)
Pick-up pets from Asbury in the morning and re-unite with their owners at Veterans Coming Home. This position requires your own vehicle appropriate for transporting a crated pet. Crates will be provided.
Overnight Volunteer: 8PM-8:30AM (WEDNESDAY Nights have half shifts available)
These shifts are the heartbeat of crisis cold weather sheltering. Guest hospitality and safety monitoring through the overnight hours. Volunteering alongside a staff person*, you should have a few hours to rest in a private volunteer area.
In the morning you’ll wake guests up, help with coffee service, and help with some clean-up.
(*Staff are not scheduled on Saturday evenings, but may be available as scheduling allows.)
Laundry Runner: Pick-up dirty laundry between 7:40-8AM, deliver to Enterprise Laundry before 9AM, and collect clean laundry to return to Asbury shelter. (No Laundry Shift on Sundays)
Morning Tear-down & Check-Out Assistant: 7AM-9AM (SUN: 6:00-7:45AM)
Assist with putting away cots, serving coffee/hot chocolate, snack, making sure guests catch the bus.
Cleaning Crew: 9AM-11AM (Sunday 6:30AM-7:45AM)
Taking out trash, cleaning bathrooms, vacuum/sweep floors. Feel free to bring a friend or partner to help you clean.
Interested? All volunteers need to be pre-approved for this work with the unsheltered and trained. Please email AsburyShelterSGF@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to sign up.
Items Currently Needed for the Shelter
We have developed a Shelter Wish List on Amazon for items most needed for our guests: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/20RX40LA4E2CG
All items will ship directly to Asbury. If you are able to save on shipping and purchase this item in town, you can click on the option “Buying this gift elsewhere?” to inform others that it has been purchased.
Why a Shelter at Asbury?
The effort to host a shelter on our own requires more volunteers and funding that we can provide on our own, yet through God’s providence, a group of Collaborating Churches (Brentwood Christian, National Avenue Christian and Unitarian Universalist) have opened up low-barrier emergency shelters in this past year and are looking to partner with a location closer to downtown Springfield. They have the experience, resources and volunteers to provide while Asbury can provide the space in our Fellowship Hall and offer additional volunteers and resources in response to living into our Vision of offering Risk-Taking Mission & Service as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
Parameters for Opening Asbury as a Shelter
These three churches will combine with Asbury to provide one large shelter closer to downtown Springfield. According to the City of Springfield’s Calamity Declaration (which goes into effect when the homeless rate in Springfield is higher than the state average) Asbury is able to open as a shelter. According to child safety laws, any shelter must be further than the distance of 1,000’ and Asbury is at a further location from Parkview High School. A bus stop is also a short distance south of the property to bring guests to and from the shelter. Guests would enter/exit through the south entrance only. Areas open to the shelter would be the Fellowship Hall, kitchen, bathrooms and nearby library for volunteers to rest. All other areas of the building would be locked. Storage would either be in the Fellowship Hall or in a classroom. We are looking to provide shelter for up to 35 guests.
Statistics on Homelessness:
- 4 in 10 workers in the US are living paycheck to paycheck and could not afford an emergency costing over $1,000. Springfield has a 25% poverty rate. Too many of us are closer to the possibility of becoming homeless than we’d like to admit.
- No one working a fulltime minimum wage job can afford housing in MO. In the Springfield metro area, to afford rental housing at the appropriate portion of total expenses, at a minimum wage job, you’d have to work over 40 hours a week for even a studio apartment. If you have a kid, a 2-bdrm rental would take 57 hrs/wk. https://reports.nlihc.org/oor/missouri
- In Missouri: We have a shortage of -122,075 rental homes affordable and available for extremely low income renters
- Actual Nights Open November-April 2020-2021: 74
- 8 Shelter locations provided in 2020-2021
- 5,907 bed-nights of shelter Oct 29, 2020-April 21,2021
- Within 18 months of emancipation 40-50% of foster youth become homeless. And 50% of adult homeless individuals spent some time in foster care. These are children who have had their social networks destroyed for any number of reasons, but not their own fault, who grow to be adults who still don’t have the support networks to thrive.
- 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ, and the majority are homeless due to family rejection.
- Many of us have social networks that might pull together to help us if we faced a crisis. Or insurance to help cover costs. Benefits that allow us time away from work while still getting paid. But many people do not have these things. A broken down car can turn into losing your job which can turn into losing your home. A medical emergency, a cancer diagnosis, can similarly spiral. For some, that medical condition may be addiction, and reliance on substance use with no real access to recovery or treatment. Drug possession or DUI can land a person in jail, especially people of color. Addiction, some mental illness, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, all of these can contribute to someone having difficulty operating in mainstream society, and may result in someone losing their home. So while oftentimes people who are experiencing homelessness may be seen as criminals because they’ve faced arrest, or may be suffering from a medical/mental condition and/or may be self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, homeless people are not, necessarily or by definition violent criminals. You are invited learn more, hear stories of some in our community, here are a few offerings:
- KSMU is currently running a series “Unsheltered,” by listening you can hear from the voices of our unsheltered neighbors and advocates a glimpse of what they face especially during this pandemic.
- Local photographer Randy Bacon started a project 7 Billion Ones, while not all of the profiles are of those experiencing homelessness, there are many collected here.
The Purpose of Hosting an Emergency Cold Weather Shelter:
- Our job is to create a safe, comfortable environment for people to sleep. All our policies and rules revolve around that statement.
- Hospitality is our mantra. (food, clothing, comfort)
- We treat them like guests staying in our home.
Operating as a Low-Barrier Shelter
Most shelters in Springfield have barriers in place for who can stay there: only men, only women, only youth, only children. This shelter would provide a safe space for anyone, including guests who are gender non-conforming, couples and those with dogs. Often times guests are fighting the cold all day that all they want to do is get a good night’s sleep.
Asbury Working in Conjunction with Several Other Services
Asbury and the Collaborating Churches will not be doing this on their own. They work in partnership with 6 other shelters in Springfield, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, City Utilities buses, the Police Department and Connecting Grounds. There is a strong active line of communication between shelters to provide solutions to problems such as someone trying to find shelter at one that is full, or emergency items that are needed.
Asbury leadership and the Collaborating Churches will assess at the end of the season if it is viable to resume this effort in the following season. Asbury would appreciate an open line of communication with the surrounding community if there are any issues that are arising from this effort. Asbury strives help our community with the issue of homelessness, but it is also important for us to be good neighbors with the surrounding community. Please contact us at any time at 417-865-1335 or email@example.com.