Bethel homeless shelter searches for new home before winter

  • By The Associated Press
  • Sunday, October 8, 2017 8:21pm
  • News

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A homeless shelter in Bethel is searching for a new facility before the arrival of winter, which can be deadly for the homeless population because of Alaska’s frigid temperatures.

An emergency location for Winter House has been located, but shelter officials said the spot is less than ideal because they’re seeking a more permanent facility somewhere in the city’s downtown, KYUK-AM reported (http://bit.ly/2y77ytD ) on Friday.

The shelter previously rented space from the Salvation Army. But its outpost closed earlier this year, causing the shelter to lose its home.

Board members have been reaching out to local government officials and community leaders for help in finding a space, said Jon Cochrane, president of the shelter’s board. When people don’t have a safe place to go, they’re forced to sleep where they can, he said.

That means they often turn to vehicles and abandoned buildings, which can be hazardous as well, Cochrane said.

“We’ve had a lot of fires in town where people have crawled under a building to get warm and light a little fire,” he said. “And next thing you know, we have a building burning down.”

The shelter is scheduled to open in December. Cochrane said they plan to find a way to keep to that schedule.

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