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The emergency family shelter at Community Outreach Inc. has opened for the winter season.

The shelter, at 865 NW Reiman Ave. is open to families with children under the age of 18 and will be offered seven days a week on a first-come, first-served basis for those who are clean and sober. Check-in begins at 7 p.m. each night with curfew at 9 p.m. The shelter can house up to 20 individuals.

COI was forced to close the shelter last July because of budget cuts but was able to restore the service on a limited basis in September after receiving a $75,000 infusion of donations. About 160 people contributed between $10 and $10,000 to the campaign, COI officials said. In the 2016-17 fiscal year the emergency family shelter housed 209 people, including 116 children.

“Families are the fastest growing homeless population in the country. Therefore, COI is pleased to be able to reopen this service after this year’s round of budget cuts,” said Kari Whitacre, COI’s executive director. “While sleeping on a mat on the floor isn’t the best solution, we realize that keeping these families safe and out of the elements is a priority at this time of year.”

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A limited number of spaces in the shelter will also be available to individual men and women who are referred by one of COI’s community partners such as the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, Jackson Street Youth Services and area school districts and law enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, the new men’s cold weather shelter on Southeast Chapman Place, has not been able to open for the winter amid the crush of remodeling work that had to be performed to get the old Hanson Tire Factory shop ready to house up to 40 men per night.

No word was available on when the shelter might open its doors.

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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