Hastings homeless shelter reopens

HASTINGS, Neb. (Nebraska) – Crossroads Mission Avenue is officially open again after being closed for more than a month. The Hastings branch of the homeless shelter has had to close after a sprinkler pipe burst and damaged the building’s electrical panel.

It happened on Christmas night, forcing residents to move to other locations in the city. Crossroads officials said the burst pip caused about $200,000 in damages. They also worked with city officials to find a temporary solution to reopen the shelter.

“It became apparent that it was going to take a long time to get a panel,” said Crossroads Mission Avenue Executive Director Daniel Buller. “As we got closer the cold temperatures set in, which we are in the thick of right now. I realized that we had no choice but to reopen our homeless shelter.

Buller said he received daily calls about when the facility would reopen and said families who had nowhere to go were asking for help finding temporary housing.

“We had two temporary shelters open, about 15 beds for women and about 15 beds for men,” Buller said. “Crossroads has another facility where we are able to sleep 10. At least we had those beds open but this was very limiting. In fact, we were fully booked the entire time we were in an emergency shelter.

Buller said it’s a feeling of helplessness when people in need call and there’s not much you can do to help. Temporary houses were located in nearby churches and were at full capacity all the time, but conditions were not as comfortable as in the facility.

“So if you go from that to living within a gym or a gym like a gym, it’s inconvenient,” Buller said. He’s still safe from the elements, but he doesn’t have that sense of home.”

Buller said there were also complications with their staff, because they had to manage three facilities instead of one. He also said that this has made getting the facility up and running again a top priority for them.

“I know our city workers and the people who have been involved are busy people, so this may not have been number one on their priority list,” Buller said. “For me, for Crossroads and our board of directors, this has become the number one priority.”

Buller said that with the winter weather and wind chill, making sure the shelter was open had become a top priority. To make that happen, he reached out to concerned city council members. The shelter’s thrift store will reopen on February 1st.

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