As the days inch closer to November the Turlock Gospel Mission is moving forward with plans to open their emergency cold weather shelter and this year it will be under the helm of a new executive director.
Christian Curby took over the position for TGM in July after the departure of Tim Guerino earlier this year. Curby comes to the job with experience both in program development and fundraising, the latter of which will prove useful as TGM and the Hope Lives Here campaign strive to raise the final funds needed for the completion of the new year-round shelter.
“We are at a critical point right now,” Curby said. “We’ve made great progress, but unfortunately it will not be done before the start of the winter shelter.”
Once completed, the year-round shelter will have beds for 35 men and 14 women and children. The facility will work in conjunction with TGM’s Homeless Assistance Ministry and will offer meals and career training, and help connect people to any medical or social services that would help them leave homelessness behind.
The estimated construction cost of the shelter is $1.9 million, with a little over $1 million already raised, Curby said.
The emergency cold weather shelter will open in November and will serve nightly meals to homeless individuals and provide overnight shelter to women and children at area churches.
Curby’s work in homeless ministry began in his hometown of Seattle at the Union Gospel Mission. He was the assistant director of family services and helped institute programs that provided transitional housing for families, shelters for fathers and their kids and “apodments,” which utilized small buildings and shared facilities for the homeless.
“The mission there was pretty closely related to what we are doing here,” Curby said. “Turlock Gospel Mission is about the restoration of people.”
After Seattle, Curby worked at the Rescue Mission Alliance in Southern California, where he led the operation of multiple thrift stores.
Curby said he’d like to expand some of the programs aimed at helping the homeless population in Turlock, especially those dealing with chemical dependency, work skills and domestic violence counseling.
“We want to move them out of that survival mode and into safety and start working on some of their issues,” Curby said. “It’s really powerful when you see people begin to dream again.”