Last week a temporary warming shelter opened in Burlington at the Ethan Allen Building on College St. The low barrier shelter is operated by CVOEO and will remain open through April 3rd. Read and view coverage from myChamplainValley.com below.
Starting Monday night, Burlington’s homeless will soon have a new place to spend the night. “The stretches of four, five days when it’s below zero, people are definitely in need of a place to stay,” said Burlington Warming Shelter Associate Director Casey Lee. The Champlain College owned Ethan Allen building on College St. has been transformed into a temporary shelter by the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity. “For the women we have eight cots set up, and then there are two more sections six for men in the center, and then another six for men on the end,” said Champlain Office of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jan Demers. Twenty beds, a couple couches and even entertainment for as many people as they can fit. “It’s been a good reaction so far,” Lee said. “I’ve had individuals asking about when it’s going to open, what it’s going to look like, what are the ammenaties like.” What makes the Burlington Warming Shelter unique is they’ve lowered their criteria to make it easier for the homeless to get in. “Some resources require that you might need an ID or social security card or other things that people who are homeless might not have, and to access the shelter you don’t need that,” Lee said. Some rules apply: no drugs or alcohol allowed in the warming shelter. That’s monitored by paid volunteers around the clock. “A quick screening form and we go over the rules and regulations of the place, and as long as you agree to them and abide by them, you’re allowed to stay,” Lee said. The warming shelter is open from six at night to seven in the morning every day of the week. 50 to 60 volunteers will are working multiple shifts and they are still looking for more people to help.