Fort Collins to host public meeting on temporary winter overflow shelter

The City of Fort Collins will host a public meeting on Monday, Nov. 10 to inform neighbors and gather feedback about a proposed ordinance that would allow a temporary winter overflow shelter at the Community of Christ Church, 220 E. Oak Street.

The public meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. in the Church’s Fellowship Hall.

With cold weather approaching, there is a concern that an overflow shelter will be needed this year. Homeless shelters, however, are not included in the list of permitted uses in the zoning in place at 220 E. Oak. Therefore, City Council is scheduled to discuss an emergency ordinance to allow a shelter at that location on a temporary basis and with certain limitations. The Council will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 12 at City Council Chambers, 300 Laporte Ave. to consider this action. Emergency ordinances require one reading and are effective immediately.

The ordinance provides a temporary exemption to the uses allowed in the zone district and would allow a homeless shelter at the Church only from November 2014 through March 2015.
The City is suggesting the following limitations with the proposed ordinance:
· Shelter occupants: Women only.
· Maximum occupancy: 20.
· Hours of operation: 10 p.m. to 6:15 a.m.
· Cars: None permitted.
· Supervisor: On premises at all times.

Community of Christ Church has been used in the past as a winter overflow shelter for the homeless but not in recent years. Another church served as a winter overflow shelter for homeless women in the past several years, but due to increased church activities will not be able to do so this winter. Catholic Charities is working with the City to provide this service at the Community of Christ Church.

The overflow shelter will supplement existing community resources. Catholic Charities and the Fort Collins Rescue Mission have about 160 beds combined for emergency conditions, and have collaborated with the City on this solution so that their shelters can take more men if necessary.

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