A new city structure is set to be installed in Elgin. The accommodations will not be luxurious but may seem like a five-star hotel for those in dire need of a place to spend the night.
The Elgin Ministerial Association and the City of Elgin entered into an agreement Monday for providing a shelter at the city-owned Hu-Na-Ha RV Park. The shelter will provide temporary accommodations for those who have no place to stay the night, such as transients, the homeless, or stranded travelers.
“The shelter is for the express purpose of providing temporary housing in times of emergencies or needs,” said Lauri Ferring, pastor of the Elgin Harvester’s Church of the Nazarene, which is part of the Elgin Ministerial Association.
Elgin Mayor Allan Duffy said he is a big supporter of the project.
“I think it is great. (The future shelter) definitely meets a need,” Duffy said during a meeting with leaders of the Elgin Ministerial Association Monday.
The shelter will be a 8-by-12-foot shed outfitted to serve as a cabin. It will have insulation, a heater, electricity and four windows. Furnishings will include at least one bed with a mattress, a table with chairs and a small refrigerator. It also may have a microwave oven, said Gerald Hopkins, pastor of the Elgin United Methodist Church, which is also part of the EMA.
The shelter, which will be constructed in La Grande, will cost $7,436 to build and install. The EMA, which also includes St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Christian Life Center, will pay half the cost. The other half will be paid by contributions from individual EMA churches.
The shelter will be available, free of charge, to anyone in need of a place to stay the night. Occupants will be able to use the bathroom and shower facilities at the Hu-Na-Ha RV Park.
People in need of emergency housing will be able to sign up to use the shelter anytime before 4 p.m. If no requests are received by
4 p.m., the city may rent the shelter to anyone after that time, under terms of the agreement for the shelter.
When the shelter is used because of emergency circumstances, the Elgin Ministerial Association will reimburse the city for expenses, including for heating, water and maintenance.
Joe Garlitz, a deacon at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, said this is only fair in light of the many expenses the City of Elgin already has.
Hopkins said he hopes the shelter can be installed by mid-October.
The shelter will fill a need that arises an average of about once a month. Ferring, Garlitz and Hopkins said their churches combined have received at least eight calls from people this year needing overnight shelter because of emergency circumstances.