calendar December 11, 2009 in News

Lutherans open shelters for Code Blue

Trinity, Lansdale and Emmaus Road, Levittown are among the area churches responding to the homeless community by serving as shelters on nights when officials call a "Code Blue," with temperatures and wind chill below 20 degrees, including last night and tonight.

Trinity agreed just this week to become a Code Blue shelter for the Lansdale area, and housed five men last night (Thursday) and expect more tonight.  Trinity’s ministry of shelter was the subject of an article in this morning’s Reporter.

"There hasn’t been an emergency shelter like this in the area for several years, and there is a definite need," Trinity Diaconal Minister Rebecca Kolowe told the paper.

"We’ll be opening our doors on Code Blue nights to up to 20 homeless men, and are working in collaboration with the county and with Community Housing Services," she said.

Montgomery County also has shelters at Salvation Army locations in Norristown and Pottstown. There has not been a shelter in the Lansdale are for several years.

The shelter opened even though sleeping mats that had been ordered have not yet arrived, according to Dennis Smith, Trinity’s director of buildings and grounds.

Trinity is accepting both offers of volunteers and donations to offset the costs of setting up the shelter, according to senior pastor the Rev. Eric Shafer.  For information contact Rebecca Kolowe at .

In Lower Bucks, Emmaus Road is one of a coalition of churches that stepped forward to provide shelter in Bucks County’s new Code Blue system, according to an article in The Courier-Times on Wednesday.

More than 100 volunteers turned out for to be trained for the shelter program, the paper reported. The effort by the Lower Bucks Center for Church and Community still needs volunteers, and you can sign up at  Another training session is set for Dec. 16, 7 pm, in Langhorne.

Organizers of the Bucks program say that while they are initially focusing on Lower Bucks, they hope that shelters can be found in other regions of the county.