Thursday, November 17, 2016

Funding Crisis

Due to a State budget deficit, earmark funding in line item 7004-0102 designated for Homeless Individuals Assistance is on hold.  This includes $200,000 designated for Craig’s Doors.  For the past three years, Craig’s Doors has used this funding to operate Craig’s Place, Amherst’s emergency homeless shelter.  The governor’s administration will reach a decision by December 15, 2016; until then, it is uncertain what will happen. There are three options: 1.) We receive all of our funding. 2.) We take a percentage cut, which may be great or small. 3.) We lose all of our funding.

In the event that funding is not restored, Craig’s Place may have to close during the coldest and most dangerous months of winter.  Without Craig’s Place, many individuals will have to sleep outside, and some of them will die.
 “We are doing everything we can to keep the shelter open.” Rebekah Wilder, Craig’s Doors Executive Director said. 
In addition to communications with the legislature and state, Craig’s Doors is seeking alternative funding sources and cutting expenses.
Today, we are making an appeal to the Hampshire County community: help us keep our doors open. Help us in our mission to support those who are at their most vulnerable. Whether you are able to donate time, money, or material goods, your contribution to our shelter directly translates into another day of operation, another day of saving lives. Each day is significant.  In order to remain an accessible resource, we need the support of our community. Your partnership is essential to the furthering of our goal to create housing for those in need.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Opening Night

Last night marked the beginning of the 2016-2017 season for the Craig’s Place Emergency Shelter. And it got off to a great start! All told, the shelter kept seventeen individuals out of the cold last night, many of whom were quick to say they missed the shelter and its friendly faces. Shelter guests were able to enjoy a hot meal, warm shower and their “first good night’s sleep in a long time”. Everyone was happy to have a calm, quiet night at the shelter.

However not everyone who showed up to the shelter last night was able to stay. This was especially true for one female guest, since the number of women allowed to stay the night is now capped at six. But Craig’s Doors dedicated staff members were able to drive her to a neighboring Cot Shelter in Northampton, to keep her from spending the night on the streets. As we head into a busy, and cold, season, things are shaping up well. With new policies and procedures in place, a devoted team of staff and volunteers, the foundation has been set for an excellent season.

And the need could not be greater as there are many in community who are without stable housing. Though Amherst may be known for it’s numerous colleges, Craig’s Place Shelter provides an important service for individuals in the community who are on the outside of that world. Individuals who are facing hard times and uncertainty about their future, but who can take comfort in the fact that they have a place to call home for the night.