Shelter program slated for October

Posted: Thursday, September 09, 2004

Organizers of a network to serve the needs of homeless people on the Kenai Peninsula hope to have services available to those in need by next month before the snow flies.

Planners are hoping a meeting, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. today at Soldotna City Hall, will help.

Founders of Kenai Interfaith Shelter Services will present their plans for a network of churches providing overnight shelter and meal service for homeless families to the public at the meeting.

Planners also expect to select a formal board of directors for their nonprofit organization and start signing up volunteers for the system.

Volunteer congregations or groups would be responsible for hosting clients at a church building and providing supervision, food and company for one- to two-week periods on a rotating basis. Meanwhile, a combination of paid and volunteer staff would help clients seek work, welfare or other needed assistance during daytime hours.

The system is designed to use existing community resources without building a permanent homeless shelter structure and to allow peninsula residents an opportunity to help their neighbors without overtaxing any one group of volunteers.

Already, planners have developed a partnership with Family Promise, a national agency supporting similar faith-based shelter networks. The national organization will provide resources and training for staff members and volunteers. In addition, KISS organizers have applied for grant funding for the system and secured commitment from a handful of area churches.

Today's meeting is designed to present the system to more members of the community, develop support and seek a wider volunteer base. All Kenai Peninsula residents are invited to attend. Anyone unable to attend the meeting or interested in more information may call Sylvana or Heidi at 260-3800.

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