Severe Weather Shelter Network was birthed out of the Severe Weather Collaboration in the summer of 2012. The Collaboration is one of seven sub-committees of Heading Home Collaboration in Jefferson County addressing the needs of families and individuals experiencing homelessness during life threatening winter nights. One objective to achieve that goal was to invite churches to open their buildings as a source of shelter for families and individuals.
In October of 2012 the Collaboration assembled representatives from the social services and faith communities to put together a shelter model that would provide emergency overnight shelter using churches as the shelter sites.
The first shelter night was hosted at Sloan’s Lake Community Church in February 2013 as a beta test. The Church hosted every other week through the end of April that year. There were many lessons learned, but a sustainable model had been formed.
In January of 2014 SWSN had developed a strong Leadership Team and was ready to come out from under the leadership of the Collaboration. SWSN began to take full responsibility for the day to day shelter needs, leadership development, volunteer recruitment and training, and seeking their financial support for the growing ministry.
Our ministry vision for the future includes expanding our shelter model to encircle all of the suburban communities surrounding Denver. Beyond the geographic reach of the Denver metro area we are already duplicating the ministry in other communities. Evergreen has adopted the model and in the future will include Conifer and Bailey into their own network of shelters. Love INC in Howell, Michigan adopted this model and is now sheltering in partnership with other service providers in their community. This ministry belongs to our Lord. We will go wherever He leads and where He opens doors to share.
Lastly, Severe Weather Shelter Network will partner in the building of Continuums of Care* in the communities in which we are providing shelter. Empowering important change in our communities through relationships, education and resource connections for our guests and volunteers will change the forward view of how homelessness is addressed. Most importantly we believe our God will be honored and lives will be saved.
* Continuum of Care is defined by a logical and intentional progression of services helping individuals move from homelessness to a safe and stable lifestyle off the streets.