Henry’s Place Sends Helping Hands to Local Homeless Shelter3 min read

By Ruth Scovill

On May 28th, an enthusiastic group of young men descended on the local homeless shelter for a service project. These young men are attending a week long summer camp at Henry’s Place. They came to remove the old, worn out mattresses from the beds at the shelter, and replace them with new mattresses provided by the state. The energetic and lively crew made short work of the project. Henry’s Place runs weekly Christian-based camps throughout the summer, alternating between boys camps and girls camps. Most of the youth who participate are underprivileged kids from Las Vegas. It was a joy to watch their spirit and enthusiasm as they set to the task at hand.

While I was there, I spoke with James Jetton, who is serving as executive director at Care and Share, and Sierra Waters, operations manager. James told me that the shelter has already served 195 people this year (people who checked in and stayed at least one night). He said that this is a 78% increase over the same period last year. If things continue at this same pace, they expect to serve up to 500 people this year, which is more than they have ever served in a year. There are generally about 30-38 people in the shelter.

Jetton said that the majority of people served at Iron County Care and Share are from Iron County, followed by a smaller number from Washington County, and then people from other areas of Utah, and a few from out of state. He said that in the past few years, they have seen a fairly drastic increase in the number of seniors who are experiencing homelessness.

Care and Share is a temporary shelter, and the goal is to help get people’s situation stabilized and get them into more permanent housing. Seniors make up about 20% of the people they are serving right now, many of whom are disabled. Besides helping them get into stable housing, helping them often includes helping them get medical help.

There are also a lot of women and families who need help. About 50 to 80% of women who come to the shelter are fleeing domestic violence, making Canyon Creek one of their key partners. Jetton says the goal is to help people find pathways out of crisis.

A major need in Cedar City is for more affordable housing. Although there are some housing projects for seniors and low income people, it is not enough to meet needs. Much of the affordable housing in Cedar City is student only housing.

An interesting note about the relationship between Henry’s Place and the Iron County Care and Share program is that Henry’s Place has volunteered to serve as a code blue back-up shelter for Care and Share in the winter. This means that when temperatures are projected to drop to 15 degrees or lower for 2 hours, and the Care and Share has more people who need shelter than they can provide for, people can go to Henry’s Place to find a safe, warm shelter until the emergency conditions have passed.

One project that the Care and Share is doing is to create a community garden, which will help supply fresh food in the summer. The residents have also been excited about this project. While they are just passing through, it has been a favorite activity to help out in the garden.

The shelter has also received funding that has allowed them to add onsite security. This has greatly lowered the number of calls that have to be made to local law enforcement, and the problems that arise at the shelter. The shelter also benefits from volunteers who come in to prepare meals, and can always use more volunteers here and for the pantry.

Sierra Waters spoke about some of the needs of the shelter. One of the biggest needs is for men’s underwear and socks. They also need new or gently used sweatpants and T-shirts because these are easier to fit to people. Backpacks are also helpful, and there is a need for twin fitted sheets. Children’s clothes are also in demand.

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