Dillon church provides amenities for those without
Summit Daily News
Last year, a group of churches, nonprofits and public agencies met to talk about gaps in services for the homeless. The conclusion: There was a shortage in daytime needs like showers, Internet, laundry and telephone.
“This was the piece that was missing,” said Dillon Mayor Ron Holland. “We know there’s a need, and we’re trying to provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for people.”
Aid is now being provided via a partnership between the Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Dillon and the Family and Intercultural Resource Center. Participants have to go through FIRC first to register and learn how the services work, and are then free to use the church’s amenities. Right now, they are only available on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-4 p.m.
Katie Romanoski, church administrator, said she originally thought the facilities would just be for the homeless.
“We’ve refined that to think that anyone who doesn’t have access to these services is more than welcome to use them,” she said. “Lord of the Mountains was fortunate in that we have the space, and we had the interest from the congregation in providing.”
All of the amenities – like the washer, dryer, computer and shower supplies – were donated by members of the church. Members also donated their time to rewire and install everything.
“People were so excited by the prospect of helping people,” Romanoski said.
Romanoski said there used to be similar services offered at the Red Door in Breckenridge, but that closed down a few years ago.
“If you’re living in a tent and trying to get a job, you’ve got to get clean before you go to the job,” she said. “If you don’t have a cell phone, there aren’t pay phones anymore.”
“Just going to the laundromat is a financial burden,” Holland said. “They’re not cheap.”
So far, Romanoski said the services have received a positive response from users. Holland said a single woman with a small child was recently able to do her laundry while she updated her resume on the computer. She was then able to e-mail it to potential employers.
“So many jobs now are online,” he said.
While the services are currently only available a few days a week, Romanoski said they might revisit the notion of extra days – and maybe even the possibility of food offerings – if it gains in popularity. Flyers are being handed out to all of the police stations, Summit County Commons, and the Summit Community Care Clinic. They will also be distributed at community dinners.
“We think this is something we really need,” Romanoski said. “Lord of the Mountains is really a pilot program. If it turns out there’s a huge need for this, it may well have to be institutionalized in some other form.”
Rob Murphy, community support manager at FIRC, said there is currently no homeless shelter in Summit County. He said FIRC and a few churches can provide help on a very limited basis – if funds are available – in emergency situations. The closest shelter is in Denver.
For more information, contact FIRC at (970) 262-3888, or the Lord of the Mountains at (970)468-6809. FIRC is located at 103 Main Street in Dillon. Lord of the Mountains is located at the stoplight of Highway 6 and Lake Dillon Drive in Dillon.
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