Open Doors transforms former Red Front Supermarket to temporary shelter

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 11:24 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A once-popular supermarket has transformed to help people in the Harrisonburg community.

With help from Open Doors and community volunteers, the former Red Front Supermarket has been turned into Open Doors' temporary homeless shelter.

The building passed inspection and Thursday was the first night guests were welcomed into the new shelter.

The shelter’s executive director Joel Ballew said the sales floor is over 30,000 square feet, but the setup is only taking up about half of that space.

The large floor added room for additional beds, making the cap 45 instead of the usual 40.

Open Doors usually moved from church to church during the shelter season, but as the pandemic continues, this was the safest option for guests and staff.

“It’s really exciting to see how people in the community care about those who are without a home," Ballew said. "We really look forward now that in some ways, that we have a COVID safe facility where we’re able to space things out and have that distances.”

The shelter will operate at this location until the shelter season ends in April.

Ballew said with temperatures dropping and the shelter’s accessibility from the city, they are expecting those 45 beds to fill up this season.

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