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Elizabethtown winter shelter relocating, in need of volunteers

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Winter's chill is setting in early.

In our region, a new shelter is in need of some help, to keep people off the streets this winter.

ECHOS, a community and housing outreach service, is opening a new winter shelter in Elizabethtown, in conjunction with an organization called the Community Place On Washington.

Their goal? To make sure anyone who needs help can find it all in one place.

"It’s a work of faith because, when you go into doing something like this, you don’t know where the money is coming from, the volunteers are coming from, so it’s a really amazing accomplishment," said Doug Lamb, with the United Churches of Elizabethtown.

Lamb has been working to get the shelter open by December.

The United Churches of Elizabethtown has raised more than $200,000 to buy Saint Peter's School and another property,to make this dream reality.

"We saw an uptick there and we have not given up trying to find a better way to make it happen to help these people," Lamb said.

The winter shelter has been around for the past four years, and organizers with ECHOS say the need is great.

"Last year the highest number we had were 23, but we know the way the housing market has gotten, right, we’re very concerned that we will be filled to capacity," said Peggy McFarland, with ECHOS.

Last year, 1,010 nights were spent in the shelter by 57 people from 9 different families.

"We’re in the process of renovating the building right now," McFarland said. "We’re having to build bathrooms and showers, and redo the kitchen."

Volunteers are needed for repairs, as well as day to day operations for the shelter.

Their doors are open for 17 weeks each year.

"We can’t run the shelter without volunteers," said coordinator Frances Rubis. "They are the heart of the shelter."

Training for volunteers starts on November 19.

"We expect to be very busy in the shelter, so all of the volunteers are very valuable to us and we need to have more to refresh the ones that have been here," Rubis said.

An open house will be held on Saturday, November 17 to show off the Community Place on Washington.

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