Every night that temperatures plunge below 15 degrees the Family Shelter of the Bitterroot, a nonprofit organization, has warming shelters for people in need to go inside and warm up.
The centers opened Friday, Jan. 11, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. with trained staff, showers and shower kits.
The Bitterroot Church of the Nazarene “Neeley Center” 805 5th Ave. in Victor takes men, women and children with separate facilities plus showers.
The Corvallis United Methodist Church, 356 Corvallis Cemetery Road, takes only women and children and has a small kitchen and shower facility available.
The Family Shelter of the Bitterroot is working to add more warming shelters in Darby, Stevensville and Hamilton. Until these centers are confirmed, and workers trained, Mark Hawes of the Ravalli County Sheriff’s office said some gas money maybe available to reimburse people who transport users farther to the shelters.
The shelters also have vouchers for the use of showers at Black Rabbit RV Park & Storage in Hamilton.
Steven Traver of the nonprofit said people need options.
“There is a homeless problem here, it just isn’t as visible as in Missoula,” Traver said. “If the temperature gets 15 degrees or colder we will open up to let people get out of the cold – out of their cars or out from under the bridge. We are providing shelter.”
Gary Locke, president of the Family Shelter of the Bitterroot, will staff the Victor shelter and Traver will staff the Corvallis shelter along with trained volunteers.
Traver said the Family Shelter of the Bitterroot has received interest in people donating to the cause and people can donated at familyshelterbitterroot.org, send a check or donate via PayPAL.