Local News

Dec 11, 2009 2:06 PM by Ryan Foran

Prado Day Center offering warm gift this holiday season

A warm and welcome gift is coming to those in need during this latest winter storm.

The Prado Day Center is extending its hours for the first time.

The homeless shelter normally closes at 4:30 p.m. but it will remain open non-stop until Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

The center says the demand is much higher during the winter months.

With more rain expected to come, many people would of simply been forced to brave the elements, but now that is not the case.

"We couldn't believe it, we we're just really happy," David Kitto who uses the shelter said.

Kitto and others that use the Prado Day Center and other shelters, are really happy that for the first time since opening its doors in 1997, the Prado Day center is turning into the Prado Night Center.

"The alternative for many of our clients would be the creeks. You know they stay under bridges, they stay wherever they can find a spot. There really isn't a viable alternative," Dee Torres the homeless services director for the shelter said.

The other alternative is the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter in San Luis Obispo which is a nighttime shelter.

But Wednesday night it was forced to turn people away after reaching capacity.

"We can come here and clean up, and take a shower and everything. But, if you go out and you're living outside or something, and you get dirty and unshaven. This place is giving us a place so we can leave in the morning and look good, and give us an opportunity to go out there and hit the streets looking for work," Kitto said.

The center had its general use permit modified two years ago, and then got the much needed funding for this much needed shelter to remain open after dark.

"We're limited year round just to provide the day services, so thinking about staying open 24 hours is really daunting, but we really feel like there is a need," Torres explained.

"I'd like to thank everybody that pitched in and helped us today, and brought clothes and food. I really appreciate them opening up for us," Kitto added.

Kitto said the Prado Day Center has helped him get part-time jobs in the past, and staying open through the next few nights will definitely help in the future.

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