Open Doors partners with Sentara to expand capacity during inclement weather
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Open Doors thermal shelter in Harrisonburg is expanding its overnight services during inclement weather through a partnership with Sentara RMH. During days of inclement winter weather, the shelter will now be able to house an additional 10 guests at the Sentara Atrium on Beery Road.
“We recognize that temperatures are low and there are a lot of times where people should not be outside but extreme temperatures, 20 degrees or below, significant snow accumulation overnight so two inches or more, and then a tenth an inch of ice or more would trigger this,” said Nate Riddle, Open Doors Director of Operations.
Open Doors will provide two staff members at the atrium on these nights and meals will be provided as well. Guests will be admitted on a first come first basis and those on a waitlist who didn’t make it into the main shelter would be prioritized.
Sentara said it was happy to lend a hand when Open Doors reached out about looking to expand its capacity.
“We’re excited to extend our partnership with Open Doors. They do great work in our community helping people who are in really desperate need. Especially this time of year everyone should have a roof over their head so it directly impacts our mission of improving health every day,” said Cory Davies, Executive Director of the RMH Foundation.
Sentara has partnered with Open Doors for years and the use of the atrium is just the latest example of this.
“Open Doors does exceptional work in our community and we’ve been happy to partner with them. The RMH Foundation has provided funding to their work, Sentara Cares has provided funding to their work, and we’ve been providing food and meals to them through our food services department, this really is just the next step in our partnership,” said Davies.
The use of the atrium will allow Open Doors to expand its capacity from 40 to 50 guests on days of inclement weather.
“In our continuous shelter at Red Front and when we were at JMU we were about 50 or 60 people a night, mostly in the 50s. So now we know we’ve closed the gap significantly. There still may be a smaller gap there but bringing it up to 50 does a tremendous job at lowering the need there,” said Riddle.
Open Doors is also still seeking a host location for its shelter for the first week of January and urges any potential hosts to reach out.
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