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Auburn does care about its homeless
Alex Gasperi, I love your heart.
There is a plan. And because there is a plan – the homeless had a place to stay on the night you are concerned about.
The cold weather shelter is operated by the Auburn Food Bank under the Emergency Management Division of the City of Auburn. The shelter is a "cold weather shelter" that opens when the temperature reaches 32 degrees and below. The shelter is operated by volunteers. Cots and blankets are provided by Emergency Management. Wonderful donors provide more blankets, food, hand warmers, socks and coats.
The shelter was opened on Dec. 5 – beginning at 9 each night through Dec. 10 – except the one night you mention – when it had to open late. The buildings are public property, and they are often rented by people wanting to have a meeting, or a birthday party or a wedding reception, etc.
The City owns the building and provides it as a shelter. Many nights we are able to open before 9 if there is no other function in the building. On the night you speak of, a private group had rented the building until 11 p.m. "Opening late" wasn't the fault of someone "not caring."
There are many ways to find out about the shelter and when it is open. The City posts the schedule on its website. (Yes, homeless people can access the Web through computers at the library.) Signs are posted at the library, in our grocery stores, gas stations, at some of the major bus stops and churches.
There is a meal every day in Auburn where homeless and those who need a little extra help can eat. Announcements are made at each of these meals. I have personally called those that have given me their phone numbers and told them when the shelter will be open.
Auburn does care about the people who live here. This is a very giving city. Auburn is full of people like you who have seen a need and want to help. You have done one thing to help – and that is to care and to encourage others to care.
There isn't a person who has read your letter who doesn't sense that. Thank you – on behalf of my friends – whose roof is a beautiful sky with stars that shine and sunrises and sunsets that are gorgeous. And even in the worst of weather – they are smiling and laughing and sharing what they have with others who they believe are worse off than they are.
– Debbie Christian, executive director, Auburn Food Bank