A weekly, Thursday-night homeless shelter will launch this week in a city-owned building. The shelter will be in Pioneer Hall, 73 Winburn Way, across from Lithia Park.
Volunteers and city staff members are working out details for the exact starting time for the shelter, but it will likely open between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Ashland City Council approved the use of a city building last week for a shelter on Thursday nights through April.
Members of Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland have volunteered to staff the Thursday-night shelter.
Councilors mandated a number of requirements to address safety and liability concerns, including that volunteers undergo criminal background checks.
The Ashland Police Department has been processing criminal background checks on volunteers and waiving the department's usual $20 fee, according to APD personnel.
RVUUF member John Wieczorek said he and others have gone through the criminal background check this week, which includes filling out a form and being fingerprinted.
"It seems like the police chief really wants to accommodate people," Wieczorek said of APD Chief Terry Holderness.
First Presbyterian Church of Ashland already hosts a Monday-night shelter, while Trinity Episcopal Church offers shelter on Wednesday nights.
Members of those two congregations, as well as other community members with experience serving the homeless, will conduct shelter volunteer training from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at First Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Walker Avenue.
All community members, not just members of RVUUF or Temple Emek Shalom, are invited to attend the training and to sign up as shelter volunteers.
Topics will include how to welcome homeless people, volunteer sign-up and coordination, dealing with mental-health issues and criminal background checks.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.