MEDFORD, Ore. -- All of the 50 available beds are full at Rogue Retreat's Kelly Shelter at the Medford First United Methodist Church. This year, it was able to open a full month earlier than it did last year. Rogue Retreat Development Director Matthew Vorderstrasse said there’s always been a need to open earlier. Thanks to a change in one of the City of Medford’s ordinances, Rogue Retreat was able to make it happen.
"The city was able to grant us approval to be able to open a month earlier than usual which is great. We wanted to be able to make sure that we’re providing as much shelter is possible in whatever scope that we can," Vorderstrasse added.
Even though all 50 beds are taken, Kelly Shelter is a transitional shelter. Case managers work to get those first 50 people into more permanent housing so people on its waitlist can take their spots.
"Before Kelly Shelter opened, we had another case of a cold related death. That's what we're trying to avoid, people passing away because they're out here in the elements unsheltered," Vorderstrasse said.
According to a CDC reporter more than 13,400 people died in the United States between 2003 and 2013. Rogue Retreat hopes to lower that.
"It's something that colder regions have to be able to address. For us, we know that we need to be able to provide shelter and so working with the Methodist Church we're able to work here and provide shelter for to 50 people per night."
Kelly Shelter opens every night at 6 pm and will stay open until March 31st.
It is located at the Medford First United Methodist Church:
607 West Main Street, Medford