The warming center that was offering homeless individuals a place to stay overnight has had to close temporarily because of a lack of funding.
The warming center was at Turlock Gospel Mission’s day center and opened as an overnight location for the homeless just before Christmas. Stanislaus County has agreed to use $25,000 to fund the warming center through the end of March, but the contract has yet to be finalized and TGM learned the county would not be reimbursing the nonprofit for any of the nights the warming center is open and operational prior to the start of the contract, said TGM Executive Director Christian Curby.
“I am unhappy to be making this decision this morning but I do not have a choice,” Curby said on Wednesday. “I did intentionally wait until we got through Christmas, however, I need to make this decision today. We will reopen as soon as we have a signed contract.”
Curby said it costs about $200 a night to operate the warming center, which is primarily to pay for security. Curby said donations were down for much of the fall, leaving the nonprofit with little to no money for unbudgeted expenditures.
The contract with the county is expected to be finalized around the start of the new year.
The day center was used as a warming center over the Thanksgiving holiday and was well used by homeless individuals, Curby said. Just before Christmas TGM was asked by the city to open it up again for overnight use because they were enforcing the municipal code at Montana Park regarding tents and storing personal property in public spaces.
Curby said about 30 people on average have been using the warming center.
Once the contract with the county is finalized the day center will reopen as an overnight warming center from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week. There will be storage space for belongs and kennels for pets. TGM can’t turn the center into a shelter with beds, cots or mats because the building doesn’t meet state guidelines for shelters.