Commonwealth Catholic Charities to open cold weather shelter without city’s help

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 6:08 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Just in time for the arctic blast, Richmond’s third cold weather shelter is opening on Thursday without the city’s help.

The city and Commonwealth Catholic Charities are still finalizing a contract to work together. Until that’s signed, CCC won’t receive any of the thousands of dollars they are supposed to get from the city.

It’s been a scramble, but Commonwealth Catholic Charities says a new shelter at 1900 Chamberlayne Parkway will be open Thursday. CEO Jay Brown said they had no choice but to speed things up.

“Given the fact that we’re going to be experiencing the lowest temperatures of the season so far, 12 degrees 15 degrees, we knew it was imperative to get the shelter system online right now,” Brown stated.

They’re getting help from community partners like the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care, Homeward, the Salvation Army and the Community Foundation of Greater Richmond to make that happen because their contract with the city is still in limbo.

“The resources we’ve been able to generate from our partners in the community will allow us to operate for two weeks, and we do hope that within that time, we’ll be able to get through the rest of the contracting process with the city of Richmond so that we won’t have to close after that,” said Brown.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities said that the city sent them a draft contract on Nov. 13. CCC responded with edits two days later. It wasn’t until Dec. 20, over a month later, the city sent back a second draft for CCC to revise. That’s after the city said the 1900 Chamberlayne parkway shelter would open by Dec. 15.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll be under contract in the next couple of weeks and keep moving through the winter,” explained Brown.

The city did release a statement saying in part that they are grateful for a private entity stepping up to ensure that CCC could open this weekend. They also stated that they’re continuing to work through the final terms of the contract.

However, the city told NBC12 on Tuesday that they were assisting Commonwealth Catholic Charities in getting its shelter open for this week.

“We’re frustrated. We’re impatient. We want to get moving, so we’re really excited that we have the opportunity to open. We really hope we don’t have to close,” Brown said.

There will be 30 beds for both men and women at the shelter, with the hope of expanding to 60 beds by next week. Before showing up, people who want to access the shelter can call 804-648-4177 or call the community homeless connection line.