Brattleboro’s Seasonal Overflow Shelter is now open

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro's Seasonal Overflow Shelter (SOS) opened for the 2019-20 winter season on Nov. 18.

After a successful first and second season located at the upper dormitory on the Winston Prouty campus (formerly the Austine School for the Deaf), Groundworks' staff and Board say they are grateful for the opportunity to return to the space for a third year.

“This program is the area's last safety net for the most vulnerable members of our community,” Josh Davis, Groundworks Collaborative's Executive Director, said in a news release. He added that the primary goal of the shelter, which serves adults only, is to provide easily-accessible shelter to prevent the possibility that someone could freeze to death.

This year's shelter will operate the same as prior years at this location: anyone seeking shelter will have to register for a bed through Groundworks Drop-In Center (at 60 South Main St.) between 9 a.m. and noon. Access to the shelter will only be permitted through transportation provided by Groundworks. Capacity will remain at 33 beds.

There will be no access to the SOS during the day and walking up to the dormitory will not be permitted. The shuttle will leave by 5:40 p.m. from the Drop-In Center, and all guests of the shelter will be transported back to the Drop-In Center by 7 a.m.

Throughout the winter, Groundworks Drop-In Center will have extended hours to ensure round-the-clock availability of shelter both day and night. The Drop-In Center's extended winter hours are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m. to noon, and Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Seasonal Overflow Shelter continues to be a community-wide effort, operated by Groundworks Collaborative, with support from the Brattleboro Retreat, Winston Prouty, local faith communities, scores of volunteer meal teams, and major funding from the Vermont Agency of Human Services' Office of Economic Opportunity.

Groundworks will continue to staff the shelter throughout the season, with two staff on each shift, and two shifts per evening. Laura Chapman is the Coordinator for the SOS and this year's Team Leader is Elissa Jones. A number of prior SOS staff members have returned for this season.

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