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Meeting to explore needs, recruit volunteers for homeless services

Nonprofits will help coordinate outreach efforts in Durango
Durango’s homeless services will be explored at a meeting on Saturday hosted by Durango Christian Church, 255 E. 11th St.

The gaps and strengths in Durango’s social safety net for homeless residents will be explored Saturday at a meeting.

Community Compassion Outreach, a Durango nonprofit, is hosting the meeting that will feature speakers from Manna, Durango’s soup kitchen; Mercy Regional Medical Center; Housing Solutions for the Southwest; and Volunteers of America, which manages the Durango Community Shelter.

The meeting will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Durango Christian Church.

Speakers will describe the volume of services local nonprofits deliver and gaps in the services available to homeless residents, said Donna Mae Baukat, executive director of Community Compassion Outreach.

“It will inform people on how we collaborate,” Baukat said of the meeting.

CCO representatives will also present plans for a village of miniature homes that could provide additional long-term housing for the homeless.

The nonprofit is also exploring options for emergency short-term housing, Baukat said.

A variety of volunteer opportunities will be presented during the meeting.

Volunteers are key to meeting some of the major needs of the homeless community, such as housing, Baukat said.

“We can’t depend on the city. We can’t depend on the county,” she said.

Volunteers are needed to help with a survey of homeless residents at the end of January, she said. The survey is conducted nationally to help gauge the scope of the homelessness problem.

Volunteers could help collect higher-quality local data, Baukat said.

Help is also needed to provide mid-day meals to homeless residents on Saturdays when Manna is closed and organize day labor employment opportunities, among other tasks.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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