With far fewer shelter beds than the number of unsheltered neighbors who need them, weather hazards resulting from winter snow storms & freezing temperatures, severe thunderstorms, and hurricanes create dangerous, and often life-threatening situations for the hundreds of neighbors living unsheltered in the Richmond area. The City of Richmond opens a Cold Weather Overflow Shelter when temperatures drop below 40 degrees and sometimes during dangerous weather events. But accessing it for most of those we serve is nearly impossible due to their distance from the shelter. For many of them, the nearest bus stop is over two miles away, and the shelter is over seven miles away from most of their camps. Very few are able to make that trek.
Our Emergency Shelter Program is our most critical and second most costly program of our entire operation. The three components of our Emergency Shelter Program are Emergency Motel Shelter, Dignity Stays, and Room in the Inn.
We have established relationships with eleven motels spanning our service area that provide discounted nightly room rates and weekly rates. Eight of these motels accept our reservation by phone and check our friends into their rooms without our signature. This allows us to respond quickly to sudden weather events requiring Emergency Motel Stays for dozens of people at a time, without having to visit every motel during a storm.