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Community of Christ Church to provide overflow shelter

As fall begins and cold nights grow nearer, homeless shelters in Fort Collins become hard-pressed for space.

The City of Fort Collins, in partnership with Catholic Charities and the Fort Collins Rescue Mission, works to solve this problem each cold season, ranging from November to April.

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City of Fort Collins Social Policy and Housing Programs Manager Sue Beck-Ferkiss speaks during a meeting at Community of Christ Church Sept. 23. (Ryan Schmidt | Collegian)

City employees hosted a neighborhood meeting at Community of Christ Church Sept. 23 to discuss plans for overflow shelter, answer questions from community members and provide additional resources. 

“We just want to take a little bit of time going through the operational plan of what happened last year and what we’re planning for this year,” said Marcy Yoder, head of the Neighborhood Services department. 

Fort Collins has two overnight shelters: Catholic Charities’ The Mission and the Fort Collins Rescue Mission. During the winter months, these shelters can’t fully accommodate the needs of the community, said Sue Beck-Ferkiss, the social policy and housing programs manager with the City.

From our side and from our partners’ side, we hear that it went pretty well last year, and we’re hoping to replicate a similar season this year.” -Sue Beck-Ferkiss, Fort Collins social policy and housing programs manager

woman speaks
City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services Manager Marcy Yoder speaks during a meeting at Community of Christ Church Sept. 23. The meeting addressed community members about using the church building as an overflow shelter. (Ryan Schmidt | Collegian)

“We work together to expand their capacity,” Beck-Ferkiss said.

Located at 220 E. Oak St. near Library Park, Community of Christ Church will accommodate overflow from The Mission and Fort Collins Rescue Mission as it has in previous years. Operating seven nights a week starting at 9 p.m., the overflow shelter will be staffed only by women and will only serve women.

The overflow shelter served 20 women each night in years past, and that same figure is expected this season, Beck-Ferkiss said.  

Beck-Ferkiss said this was the best and easiest program to run “at this amazing partner and institution, who has opened their walls and allowed us to do this.”

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Joe Domko, regional director for Catholic Charities, speaks during a meeting at Community Christ Church Sept. 23. (Ryan Schmidt | Collegian)

Joe Domko, Catholic Charities regional operator, said that going into this season, there will only be minimal changes, as the feedback from last year was that “it was a good project.”

In years past, the shelter at Community of Christ Church opened at 10 p.m. By moving this time an hour earlier, Domko said that it should allow for a “more seamless transition” between warming centers and the overnight shelters. Additionally, the hope is also to minimize loitering.

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“From our side and from our partners’ side, we hear that it went pretty well last year, and we’re hoping to replicate a similar season this year,” Beck-Ferkiss said.

More information and resources on homelessness in Fort Collins can be found on the City’s website.

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb

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About the Contributor
Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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