Medford warming shelter opens to keep the homeless warm

Medford, Ore. — Last week, NBC5 told you about a church trying to turn its basement into a temporary warming shelter.

One week later, the homeless of Medford now have a place to stay warm for the night.

Donors, volunteers and groups throughout the Medford community have helped turn the vision of a Medford warming shelter into a reality.

“It’s seeing those other people’s smiles that keeps me smiling,” said Duane King, a homeless man who was raised in the valley.

For him, a warming shelter can make the difference between life and death.

“This building is just a miracle for all of us to be able to be there as one like we all try to do each and every day,” King said.

With much help from the community, Church of the Rogue is opening its basement to get the homeless off the streets.

“All have come together to make this happen. I mean, in less than a month!” exclaimed Pastor Linda Tucker who says groups like Providence Hospital, Access, and the Oregon Community Foundation are a few among many that have made the shelter possible.

But others are volunteers, like Allix Hurwitz, who is also homeless.

“It’s making a difference. And that’s all I want to do in our world is make a difference,” said Hurwitz.

He’s thrilled that his friends will have the opportunity to come together in warm, safe place.

And he’s thankful that anybody is welcome, no matter their situation.

“As long as they can follow the behavior contract, they are totally welcome,” Pastor Linda Tucker said.

Hurwitz is hoping the community effort to open the shelter is just the first step in understanding the needs of the homeless, and working together to find solutions.

“Everybody’s story, everybody’s background is different,” Hurwitz said.

“There’s no need to be afraid of the homeless. They’re just out here doing that they gotta do in order to keep things according to plan in their lives,” King explained.

The church plans to install a sprinkler system February 1st.

Until then, they aren’t allowed to have sleeping mats, but the homeless can still get out of the cold.

The shelter will be open from 7 p.m. until 9 a.m. every night off of Mistletoe and Main streets.

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