A Middletown church-based homeless shelter is on pace to set a record for number of clients served.
In the first 39 days of operation this season, Serving Homeless Alternate Lodging Of Middletown (SHALOM) has served 65 guests, including 40 men, 24 women and one child, said Bill Fugate, volunteer director.
Last year, the agency served 119 guests, he said. Based on the current rate, SHALOM will serve 175 guests this year, shattering the record.
“That’s not a good thing,” Fugate said.
Fugate said the weather typically doesn’t impact the number of homeless. He said the economy and “lack of money” are bigger factors. Some homeless, he said, stay in local hotels until their money runs out at the end of the month.
Fugate is especially concerned by the number of females who are homeless and need services at SHALOM, a seasonal, church-based shelter in its 17th year.
He’s also seeing “new faces, younger faces,” he said.
At SHALOM, a local church host the homeless for one week. The program runs until the first week in March, though Fugate said SHALOM still needs a host church for that final week.
Daily intakes are performed from 4 to 5 p.m. every afternoon of the hosting season at SHALOM’s office in the lower level of the First United Methodist Church, 120 S. Broad St.
A van transports the guests every day to the host church where the guests are served dinner and breakfast. At about 8 a.m., the guests are transported back downtown.