RJ Montgomery Shelter finishes renovations, more beds now available

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The city’s largest homeless shelter is expanding.

The RJ Montgomery Shelter has spent the last two years renovating in an effort to house and care for more people.

The shelter expanded the number of beds from 200 to 234. They also replaced all the old wooden beds with brand new metal bunk beds in addition to expanding the showers from four to eight on both the men and women’s side. All the flooring and lighting was also replaced.

The RJ Montgomery shelter is the city’s only shelter that accommodates families and the new renovations are just a small step in the bigger picture.

“We will not eliminate homelessness,” said Mayor John Suthers. “What we need to do is minimize it.”

That starts with providing more services and beds for those in need.

“We expanded the showers from four showers in each side to eight showers,” said Major Richard Larson with The Salvation Army. “We expanded the brand new roof, new air conditioning units, new flooring. We’ve got new washers and dryers and all these things are to do one thing and that’s to make a person’s life better.”

Mayor Suthers and dozens of others got to tour the new facilities which house 30 percent of families, many of them women and children.

“I really think for the first time in a long time, we have a pretty cohesive strategy about what needs to take place,” said Suthers.

Because a large focus is on families, a child discovery center is also available.

“Folks come in here, it’s relaxed, a little bit more than the shelter,” said Dianne Williams, the Director of the Child Discovery Center. “It’s more family oriented, warmer for the families and the kids but at the same time we’re actively working to help them gain skills that they need to again get back on their feet.”

The new beds are just a small step in what The Salvation Army sees as the bigger picture.

“We think that we can make a difference in families,” said Larson. “Increasing beds, increasing availability to get help. People do matter and we really believe that investing in the infrastructure of what’s going on here really makes a difference in people’s lives.”

Mayor Suthers says that once the Springs Rescue Mission opens, at least 500 beds will be available between the two shelters for the cold winter months ahead.



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