Shelter provides assistance to homeless

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The Bridge Emergency Shelter in Cortez is ramping up for a busy season.

The shelter, which opened Oct. 15, opens its doors at 6 p.m. every evening and closes at 7 a.m. the following day. This is one of the few places homeless people can spend the night to get out of the cold weather

Shelter manager Donna Boyd said the shelter so far this season is averaging a little more than 20 people a day with its high being 33.

Last year the shelter averaged 22 people a night, and Boyd thinks this year's numbers will increase now that the cold and snowy weather has arrived.

"When it's cold, wet and windy my numbers tend to go up," she said. "I have a lot of clients who are repeaters."

The shelter is a necessity for many people who are down on their luck and have nowhere else to stay.

Boyd said the shelter's capacity can handle up to 60 people, but she conceded that number would be very crowded.

Boyd said the shelter also serves meals in the evening and breakfast items in the morning.

There are also two soup kitchens in Cortez that feed the hungry every day.

Before people are allowed into the shelter they are required to undergo an intake process, which includes a pat down as well as a breath test to determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol.

Boyd said the shelter has a dry side and a wet side (people who have consumed alcohol), with about 50 percent are on each side. She added the two groups are split up to make the shelter a much safer place.

The shelter closes in mid-April.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com