Flathead Warming Center

To the editor: (From Rev Donnel O’Flynn, Christ Church Episcopal, Kalispell)

I am writing to offer a testimonial to the work of the Flathead Warming Center, to urge the Kalispell community to find an appropriate venue for them for the coming winter. I speak from experience: Christ Church Episcopal hosted the Center last winter. We could only provide space for 20 people, due to city occupancy codes, but more than 100 individuals stayed in our facilities for one or more nights, managed by Warming Center staff and volunteers. We saw first-hand how effective and how needed their work is. There is nothing to be feared and much to be gained from getting homeless people off our streets at night and into a safe location.

At a recent meeting of our governing board I asked for comments about our experience. Here is some of what our Vestry members said:

-There were no riots.

-I was originally a no vote, but they proved me wrong. Now I think it was a really good thing.

-None of the things we were afraid might go wrong did go wrong. We were worried that there might be damage to the buildings and so on, but actually everything worked out fine. We returned the damage deposit WC gave us, in full.

-The staff was very professional, not just in taking care of our buildings but also how they managed the case load.

-Members of our Youth Group met with the guests at dinner time several times. It turned out to be one of the best things that happened for our kids all year long. They learned so much!

-Of any of the things Christ Church has ever done for the community, hosting the Warming Center is the one I am proudest of.

If our space were large enough to meet the need Christ Church Episcopal would probably consider hosting the Center again. Having seen for ourselves, we strongly encourage any parties who do have adequate space to consider making it available to the Warming Center. After all, winter is definitely still coming.

Thank you. Sincerely,

(Rev) Donnel O’Flynn