MANATEE -- The Salvation Army of Manatee County will make 90 additional beds available for men during Lent, Julie Showers, program director and business administrator for the county’s Salvation Army, said Friday.
She said the beds are being offered in response to the community’s request for “low-demand” shelters.
Lent, a Christian 40-day period marked by fasting, self-reflection and penance leading up to Easter, starts Wednesday.
Ethan Frizzell, area coordinator for the Salvation Army, said in a news release that typically there is no funding available for low-demand shelters.
“However, in response to the community’s call to action, the Salvation Army will commit resources gathered at Christmas to cover the cost of operating a low-demand shelter for 40 days,” Frizzell said in the release.
During that time, the Salvation Army will determine the cost and effectiveness of low-demand shelters in the county, Showers said.
Low-demand shelters do not require individuals to meet strict rules and regulations in order to obtain services, said Adell Erozer, executive director of Community Coalition on Homelessness.
“The low demand is on the person,” she said.
Currently there are no low-demand shelters in Manatee County, according to Erozer.
She said low-demand shelters focus on providing housing to individuals first, and then on treating any issues that may be impeding them from being stable.
According to Showers, the 90 beds will be available at the Salvation Army men’s shelter in the 1200 block of 14th Street West.
Men seeking shelter will be able to go in at night and then check out the next morning.
There will be no limit on the number of days they can stay, she said.
The beds will be offered in addition to shelter already provided by other Salvation Army programs.
Showers said that on average, the county’s Salvation Army shelters 80-120 people per night, but varies depending on the weather and other external factors.
It costs $15 per bed per night to run a low-demand shelter, the release said.
The Salvation Army would look for funds and continue the low-demand shelter through the second quarter of 2012 “if the community determines there is a preference for low demand sheltering,” the release states.