COEUR d'ALENE - A financial shortfall will prevent St. Vincent de Paul from opening its Coeur d'Alene warming shelter this winter.
Jeff Conroy, SVDP director, said the nonprofit had to choose which of its two overnight centers it wanted to keep open - selecting the higher-capacity Post Falls location as the one - in light of dropping donations.
"It's going to be a strain," Conroy said of the increased demand.
The Coeur d'Alene warming center, located behind the SVDP thrift store off Government Way, held 15 people, and had been in operation for three years. The Post Falls center, housed in a basement of the Kamps Apartment Complex behind the SVDP thrift store on Seltice Way, holds around 50 people.
Together, it cost $40,000 to run both during the winter. Conroy said they chose to keep the Post Falls site running for location purposes, since Coeur d'Alene has another warming center, Fresh Start, that could handle the extra capacity.
"People in Post Falls shouldn't have to come to Coeur d'Alene to get warm," Conroy said.
Last year, the centers - which allow homeless people to spend the night when temperatures drop below freezing - were open 45 nights. The Post Falls facility center will be open Tuesday.
Howard Martinson, Fresh Start director, said his warming center has enough space to handle the increased demand, should it come his way.
The warming center on Sherman Avenue has a maximum capacity of 64, but also has available space in St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 501 E. Wallace Ave. should Fresh Start get too full.
Martinson said the space is never utilized, so they have room for overflow.
Fresh Start opens at 20 degrees from 8 p.m. to noon the following day. Last year it provided 825 bed nights, over 30 days.
"We're prepared, we're staffed," Martinson said. "And we've had very generous support in the past."
Closing the Coeur d'Alene location will save SVDP $400 a night on staff, plus expenses tied to driving the clientele over to Post Falls when the Lake City space was full, as well as other supplies.
How to help
A number of fundraisers are planned during November, which is Homeless Awareness Month. All proceeds will go to the Coeur d'Alene warming shelter.
* Hoops for Homeless; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Kroc Center. Adult, men's, women's, and coed teams cost $100. Info: Marvin Sears, 659-2363 or email@example.com
* Soup Off! Soup making contest; 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Tickets cost $10. Info: 664-3095