WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Emergency Shelter is slated to open its doors to the public this week.
An open house is scheduled for 8 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, at the shelter, 123 Quinnipiac St.
Columbus House, a New Haven-based nonprofit that operates other homeless facilities, acquired the shelter in 2016, expanding its services and adding full-time staff.
John Brooks, Columbus House chief development officer, said the purpose of the open house is to raise funds and allow the community to learn about the shelter.
Since last year, the kitchen has been improved and the entryway has been painted, making it “brighter and more welcoming,” Brooks said.
“It’s nice and inviting, not drab and institutional,” he added.
The shelter is open from November to April and can accommodate 16 adults. In addition, the shelter has nearby apartments that can house up to four families year-round.
Columbus House coordinates outreach services, locating people on the street that are homeless.
“Our goal is to case-manage each person that comes in,” Brooks said, “with the goal of helping them identify the issues that lead to homelessness, overcome those issues and our ultimate goal is help them secure permanent housing.”
The annual operating budget for the shelter is $240,000, with $22,000 coming from a town grant. The shelter is funded primarily through community support.
“Because of the state budget crisis,” Brooks said, “even before Columbus House took over the shelter, the state had pulled funding… We’ve been trying to get that reinstated and in the interim we rely on community support.”
Brooks said about 19 local businesses and organizations support the shelter, including the Wallingford Rotary Club.
The Rotary Club and Liberty Bank have partnered annually since 2004 for its Thanksgiving Project Partnership, which raised between $1,000 and $1,500 every year for food purchase during the holiday season.
“It’s a very fine facility,” said Roz Gallagher, Rotary member and past president. “It’s very well-managed. It was in the past, but since Columbus House has taken over, they’ve been as welcome and cordial as management.”
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