Floating Winter Shelter Brings Georgetowners and Homeless Together
The Georgetown Ministry Center's floating winter shelter moves every 3 weeks to provide the homeless with meals and warmth during the winter season.
A group of Georgetown young professionals will spend their Saturday night making dinner and dining with the homeless.
“We pass the homeless on the street every day,” Katie Novaria, a member of Georgetown Presbyterian Church (GPC). “But we rarely get the chance to hear about their lives or have a conversation with them.”
Gunther Stern, executive director of Georgetown Ministry Center (GMC), with various Georgetown clergy members and residents, developed the idea of a November to March shelter. It is open from 7p.m. to 7a.m. and provides dinner, beds, breakfast and conversation.
Nearly 10 years later, the program still continues to provide shelter for some of Georgetown’s homeless population.
“Volunteers always come away in awe of the experience,” Gunther Stern, GMC executive director, told Patch in an email. “The moments that stay with me are the countless times that I see Georgetowners sitting down with the homeless people in the shelter and having the most amazing conversations.”
For ten years, GPC has welcomed the homeless to stay for three weeks in the winter, using groups within the church to make food and breakfast. Novaria, a member of GPC, and her young professionals bible study, helped organize the church's shelter dinner Saturday.
A member of the Georgetown Ministry Center stays the night with the guests.
Pastor Camille Cook Murray of GPC remembered one previous guest well. The guest for the three weeks spoke hardly any English, and, after being frustrated for a while, found solace and good conversation with a volunteering church member and college student who spoke Spanish.
The floating Winter Shelter follows a safe haven model, suggested by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. All participating volunteers make homeless guests feel welcomed and comfortable.
“Welcoming the homeless into our church gives them one less thing to worry about, said Novaria. “When walking through the doors they know there will be dinner on the table and a safe place for them to lay their heads for the night.”
Have you volunteered with the rotating shelter in the past? What was the experience like? Tell us in the comments.
Get daily and breaking news email updates from Georgetown Patch by signing up for newsletters here.