From November 2020 until the late days of December 2021, United Way of Weld County offered an around-the-clock shelter for people experiencing homelessness that were vulnerable to COVID-19 infection because of age or health condition.
“While the shelter was open, United Way staff helped guests save money, care for their health needs, pay down debts, work on sobriety, and obtain career opportunities,” shared Jayme Schledewitz, Bonell project coordinator. “The shelter was able to serve people from all walks of life, keep them safe from COVID-19 infection, help them achieve their goals, and get what they needed in order to work towards permanent housing.”
During the 14 months that the shelter was open, 94 individuals made use of the program, with some guests utilizing it more than once. Of those served:
• 38 found permanent housing
• 3 left the shelter with a housing voucher for permanent housing in-hand
• 29 exited on their own or because they did not meet shelter behavior requirements
• 3 went to health care facilities
• 4 passed away due to health conditions
• 17 went to other places when the shelter closed, including staying with friends and family, detox,
shelters, and motels
“United Way opened the COVID-19 shelter at Bonell in response to a community request to do so and because of the availability of pandemic relief funds,” noted Jeannine Truswell, United Way president and CEO. “Thank you to City of Greeley, State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs Division of Housing, The Weld Trust and individual donors for funding and to Good Samaritan Society, Weld Food Bank, and a host of other community partners for other needed resources. I consider what was accomplished to be quite extraordinary and a great success.”
Stan, a veteran and Greeley native, is a good example of who was served. Living as chronically homeless for many years, Stan was referred to the shelter when it opened in November 2020. He stayed at Bonell for 51 weeks. During his stay, Stan worked with Veterans Affairs and Volunteers of America to obtain a housing voucher. He moved into permanent housing on his 75th birthday and is now, with the continuing assistance of United Way and other community partners, living indoors and reconnecting with his friends and family.
Other organizations instrumental for providing the shelter include All for One Property Solutions, Catholic Charities, Code 4 Security, Elwood Staffing, First Christian Church, First Congregational Church, Greeley Fire, Greeley Office of Emergency Management, Greeley Police, High Plains Housing Development Corporation, High Plains Library District, North Range Behavioral Health, St. Patrick’s Presbyterian Church, Weld County Department of Human Services, and Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment.