[Hpn] Stormy night awful for many homeless

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sat, 05 Jan 2008 05:41:51 -0500


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http://www.chicoer.com:80/news/ci_7888716

Stormy night awful for many homeless

By LARRY MITCHELL - Staff Writer

01/05/2008


Many of the area's homeless had a miserable time outdoors in the high =
wind and heavy rain that hit early Friday.=20
When the Jesus Center opened to serve breakfast Friday, "there were a =
lot of soaking-wet people - soaked to the skin," said Donna Aro, office =
manager of the center, which provides free meals to needy people.=20

"We gave out a lot of ponchos," she said, adding clothes were found for =
some of the wet people.=20

The center, on Park Avenue, had just gotten breakfast ready Friday =
morning when the power went out. The meal had to be served by the light =
of flashlights.=20

About 300 people had breakfast at the center Friday, which is an =
unusually high number, Aro said. "Times are tough. A lot of people =
really need help."=20

Some homeless people stay at the Torres Community Shelter, but many =
others can't stay there for various reasons. Some are barred because =
they've caused trouble or showed up drunk or high on drugs. Some have =
dogs, which aren't allowed at the shelter. Also, the shelter can only =
house people for six consecutive months.=20

As a result, many homeless=20


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people still end up sleeping outside, she said. "It just breaks my =
heart."=20
Friday evening, the center staff was wrestling with how to keep =
providing meals without power.=20

The center could still cook hot meals, but there was no hot water with =
which to wash dishes properly, she said.=20

"We're trying to keep it healthy and make sure people get fed, which is =
a big challenge today," Aro said.=20

Rich Young, a staff member, said he planned to go to Costco and buy a =
lot of sweet rolls and instant coffee for Saturday morning's breakfast =
at the Jesus Center.=20

Over at the Torres Shelter, manager Corla Bertrand said she was grateful =
the facility had continued to have power through the storm.=20

There were some flickering lights Friday morning, but the electricity =
stayed on, she said.=20

The center has been housing about 60 people, which is about half as many =
as it can handle.=20

Although it's set up primarily for the homeless, it's technically an =
emergency shelter, Bertrand said.=20

It was possible some people who were only temporarily homeless because =
trees had fallen on their houses might stay at the shelter, she said. =
However, she thought that was probably unlikely.=20

The Salvation Army had opened its church on 16th Street and had room for =
about 15 people who might need shelter because of storm damage to their =
homes. And if those spaces were used up, the city had arranged to =
shelter people at Pleasant Valley High School, Bertrand said she'd been =
told.=20

The shelter must comply with strict rules set by the city, she said. But =
because of the storm, "we're going to be as lenient as possible."=20

Some people who normally would be turned away because of problems in the =
past would be given a chance to stay at the shelter over the weekend, =
she said.=20


Staff writer Larry Mitchell can be reached at 896-7759 or =
lmitchell@chicoer.com.



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<DIV class=3DarticleTitle>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3DarticleTitle>Stormy night awful for many homeless</DIV>
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size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV><!--subtitle--><!--byline-->
<DIV class=3DarticleByline>By LARRY MITCHELL - Staff Writer</DIV>
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<DIV class=3DarticleDate>01/05/2008</DIV><BR><SPAN fd-type=3D"end"=20
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<SPAN fd-type=3D"start" fd-id=3D"default"></SPAN>Many of the area's =
homeless had a=20
miserable time outdoors in the high wind and heavy rain that hit early =
Friday.=20
</DIV>
<P class=3DarticleBody>When the Jesus Center opened to serve breakfast =
Friday,=20
"there were a lot of soaking-wet people =97 soaked to the skin," said =
Donna Aro,=20
office manager of the center, which provides free meals to needy people. =

<P class=3DarticleBody>"We gave out a lot of ponchos," she said, adding =
clothes=20
were found for some of the wet people.=20
<P class=3DarticleBody>The center, on Park Avenue, had just gotten =
breakfast ready=20
Friday morning when the power went out. The meal had to be served by the =
light=20
of flashlights.=20
<P>About 300 people had breakfast at the center Friday, which is an =
unusually=20
high number, Aro said. "Times are tough. A lot of people really need =
help."=20
<P>Some homeless people stay at the Torres Community Shelter, but many =
others=20
can't stay there for various reasons. Some are barred because they've =
caused=20
trouble or showed up drunk or high on drugs. Some have dogs, which =
aren't=20
allowed at the shelter. Also, the shelter can only house people for six=20
consecutive months.=20
<P>As a result, many homeless </P>
<DIV class=3DarticleEmbeddedAdBox style=3D"WIDTH: 336px">
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type=3Dtext/javascript></SCRIPT>
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</DIV>people still end up sleeping outside, she said. "It just breaks my =
heart."=20

<P>Friday evening, the center staff was wrestling with how to keep =
providing=20
meals without power.=20
<P>The center could still cook hot meals, but there was no hot water =
with which=20
to wash dishes properly, she said.=20
<P>"We're trying to keep it healthy and make sure people get fed, which =
is a big=20
challenge today," Aro said.=20
<P>Rich Young, a staff member, said he planned to go to Costco and buy a =
lot of=20
sweet rolls and instant coffee for Saturday morning's breakfast at the =
Jesus=20
Center.=20
<P>Over at the Torres Shelter, manager Corla Bertrand said she was =
grateful the=20
facility had continued to have power through the storm.=20
<P>There were some flickering lights Friday morning, but the electricity =
stayed=20
on, she said.=20
<P>The center has been housing about 60 people, which is about half as =
many as=20
it can handle.=20
<P>Although it's set up primarily for the homeless, it's technically an=20
emergency shelter, Bertrand said.=20
<P>It was possible some people who were only temporarily homeless =
because trees=20
had fallen on their houses might stay at the shelter, she said. However, =
she=20
thought that was probably unlikely.=20
<P>The Salvation Army had opened its church on 16th Street and had room =
for=20
about 15 people who might need shelter because of storm damage to their =
homes.=20
And if those spaces were used up, the city had arranged to shelter =
people at=20
Pleasant Valley High School, Bertrand said she'd been told.=20
<P>The shelter must comply with strict rules set by the city, she said. =
But=20
because of the storm, "we're going to be as lenient as possible."=20
<P>Some people who normally would be turned away because of problems in =
the past=20
would be given a chance to stay at the shelter over the weekend, she =
said.=20
<P>
<P>Staff writer Larry Mitchell can be reached at 896-7759 or=20
lmitchell@chicoer.com.<BR style=3D"CLEAR: both"><BR=20
style=3D"CLEAR: both"></P></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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