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Cold weather shelter closes for season, leaving many on the streets
Homeless men line up for intake at the We Care cold weather shelter for a few more nights of warmth before the program closes for the season on Sunday. - photo by MACIE BENNETT / The Journal

The 38 men who have grown accustomed to a warm bed, clean pillows and hot dinner at the We Care cold weather shelter in Turlock will now have to find warmth elsewhere.

The We Care shelter, which normally operates December through March, is closing its doors on Sunday for the season. Shelter administrators had hoped to keep the program open longer this year, but adequate funding was not found.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to close, but we just don’t have the funds,” said We Care Executive Director Jan Tucker.

The We Care shelter provides men with a warm and safe environment, where they can feel at ease.

“This place is a real blessing,” said shelter resident Robert Reed. “They ask for very little in return.”

Many of the men at the shelter who are disabled veterans or have drug addictions, and  have found solace in the We Care program are now pondering what lies ahead.

“I haven’t committed any offense or got into any trouble since I’ve been at the shelter,” said Joshua Heywood.

“Many of the men will go back to the streets, back to what they were doing before the shelter,” said shelter staff member Joe Armas.

The closing of the shelter will have an impact on the community and local businesses as well, said staff. The We Care shelter gave a majority of the homeless men a place to be off the streets and now Turlock may see more homeless in community areas as well as business doorways, where they often sleep.

“I’ll have to do whatever I have to, to get by,” said Heywood.