Homelessness in our community has been a concern for many years. It was not uncommon to have community members perish or become seriously injured during the harsh winter months.
In 1998 a seasonal shelter initiated by Christian Ministries and supported only by volunteers, opened south of Cortez, CO. This effort lasted four years. Sporadic efforts were made during the next few years to provide safe places for homeless and stranded men & women in the community.
Following the death of a community member in December 2005, a sustainable shelter was planned. This was done with the cooperation of a variety of stakeholders representing churches, law enforcement, city and county governments, the hospital, the Navajo Nation and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. in January 2006, The Bridge Emergency Shelter opened in the old Montezuma County jail facility with three small rooms.
We are still located in the same place, but have expanded our facilities. Thanks to the generosity of our Montezuma County Commissioners, we now have four rooms for men, two rooms for women, a dining room/kitchen area, a living room and two staff offices.
During 2013-2014, we served 248 individuals during the 6 months the shelter was open. There was an average of 23 clients per night, with 3,680 total night stays.
Since we began more than a decade ago, hundreds of volunteer hours have been donated to help provide emergency shelter and food to homeless and stranded people in our community.