July 11, 2013. Despite a continuously increasing demand for shelter services the Hospitality House has made the difficult decision to discontinue the use of all emergency shelter overflow beds, effective immediately. When the new Hospitality House facility was completed, it included twenty-four emergency shelter beds, an increase of seven beds from the old 302 W. King St. house, twenty-nine family and transitional housing beds and nine long term housing beds – an overall increase of 68 percent.
Almost immediately, from the time that the new facility opened in March 2011, the demand for emergency shelter beds exceeded the planned twenty-four beds. In an attempt to meet the need for emergency shelter housing, ten overflow beds were added; however, this past month, for the first time, individuals were turned away as all regular and overflow beds were full.
“It’s not a decision that we wanted to make or came to lightly,” states Hospitality House executive director Lynne Mason. “While we are experiencing record demand, we have also been faced with a reduction in resources and due to that reduction we had no choice but to make this difficult decision.”
What does this mean for the community? Those that become homeless will only be able to stay at the shelter if there is a regular bed available. Hospitality House will no longer be able to take in emergency situations from the hospital or law enforcement if all regular beds are occupied. Hospitality House will continue to serve unsheltered homeless citizens with day services including three daily meals, showers and laundry services.
“We really regret having to take this action,” states Mason. “However, we just do not have adequate staffing to provide effective case management and to safely serve more than was originally planned for this facility. We look forward to continuing our work helping individuals and families rebuild their lives and returning them to housing stability with great success.”