Craig’s Doors resource center to open sporadically

  • Aidan Novo, a shelter manager and case worker at Craig’s Doors in Amherst and Jade Lovett, executive director, say goodbye to Mike Cote who was there picking up documents and going through his bin of clothing he keeps at Craig’s Doors for safe keeping in anticipation of it closing Aug. 1. The resource center will reopen Friday, and occasionally thereafter. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/22/2019 10:38:07 PM
Modified: 8/22/2019 10:37:55 PM

AMHERST — A resource center for homeless peope, closed since the end of July when the three staff members for Craig’s Doors: A Home Association Inc. resigned, is reopening Friday.

Gerry Weiss, president of the Craig’s Doors board, said the agency has hired a person who will reopen the trailer on a sporadic basis. The trailer is in a parking lot on Massachusetts Avenue behind the shelter’s home at the First Baptist Church, 434 North Pleasant St.

The site, where people can get mail, fill out applications for work and housing and store clothes, belongings and vital documents, will be open from 9:30 a.m. to noon Friday, and again Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to noon. Additional hours will be announced in the weeks before the shelter opens Nov. 1, Weiss said.

But even though the trailer will be open periodically, Craig’s Doors has not yet brought on a new executive director to replace Jade Lovett, and new shelter managers, all of whom stepped down.

“We have to have people soon,” Weiss said. “We’re getting ads together that will go out any day.”

Weiss said state officials with the Department of Housing and Community Development have been supportive of Craig’s Doors and remain confident in a Nov. 1 opening for the shelter.

A $175,000 line item in the state budget is the sole source of funding for Craig’s Doors, aside from donations and fundraisers.

On July 25, state officials toured the church and shelter site as part of the corrective action plan required before it opens for the season.

That action plan is about making sure the 28 beds remain available as part of the regional effort to address homelessness, according to a state spokesperson. There is no intent to change the behavior-based model, which means that guests are welcome even if under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is the only shelter in Hampshire County that has that policy.

Weiss said a weekly Wednesday breakfast at the Unitarian Meetinghouse has continued even with no staff.

The board has also taken steps to meet some of the demands that prompted the resignations, including having Jerry Gates, a board member also affiliated with the church, step down from the board. But more board members are still needed, with Weiss, Jim Lumley and Denis Barberet handling all the work.

“We’re working hard to reorganize and there’s a lot to do,” Weiss said.

Anyone interested in joining the board or learning more about how to volunteer for the shelter operations can reach Weiss at gerry@craigsdoors.org.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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