Becky Gray, Pittsburg's Director of Housing and Community Development, is always on the lookout for ways to help local homeless. Her office manages a group of volunteers who make up Pittsburg's Homeless Solutions Task Force.
They recently posted signs around town, asking Pittsburg residents for ideas and help. And they got a response.
"Pastor Burtch at the Door Christian Church saw one of those signs, reached out to me and said, 'I have a sanctuary that's empty at night, and if you want to put people in it, we can do that,'" said Gray.
The pastor was taken up on his offer, and The Door Christian Fellowship Church is now a Code Blue homeless shelter. It's a volunteer run shelter that's only open under certain conditions.
"If it's 32 degrees or below with precipitation and we have available volunteers, then we open our Code Blue shelter, or if the wind chill is below 20 degrees, then we open our shelter," said Pastor Burtch.
Sunday night was the shelter's first, housing homeless residents. Cots were set up in the church's sanctuary, which is allowed to shelter up to 5 homeless residents at a time. Converting his church into a temporary shelter, wasn't a hard decision for Pastor Burtch.
"Most of the homeless people, I know personally. And that was one of the driving factors behind this. I have to walk by these people everyday and see them sleeping in doorways and sleeping in warehouses," said Pastor Burtch.
Allen Childers is a volunteer who helped out with the shelter's first night. He hopes the shelter inspires others to do the same.
"I hope this inspires other shelters. I think this is the least we can do with no overnight shelter in Pittsburg," said Childers.
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