Night Stay Program starts in January

Published 4:37 pm Friday, December 9, 2022

The Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk is gearing up to begin its Night Stay Program for the homeless needing shelter in the winter months ahead.

The CAPS Night Stay Program begins Wednesday, Jan. 4 and continues through March 28. Checkout day is Wednesday, March 29.

The night time shelter is open from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. during its operational period and provides showers along with a hot dinner, hot breakfast and bagged lunch to go.

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CAPS Services and Night Stay Administrator Jan Pruden spoke in detail about the program and its history.

“The CAPS, which is Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk, has been going for 10 years,” Pruden said. “We just had our 10-year anniversary. The Night Stay Program is part of the beginning of that and it has in the past been hosted by different churches in Suffolk.”

CAPS has 26 local member churches that help sponsor the program financially, she said.

The full shelter program has not been able to run as usual due to the effects of COVID-19.

Pruden explained the work the Suffolk Salvation Army is doing with CAPS to provide help to the homeless.

“We’re very fortunate the first month will be housed at the Salvation Army building in Suffolk and we’re working closely with Capt. Simmons and Lt. Simmons who are the commanding officers of the Salvation Army,” she said. “Each night, guests can go directly to the Salvation Army, no earlier than 6 p.m., and at the Salvation Army we will have available for them safe shelter, showers, and food.”

Normally run by churches, the first full month of January is set to be held by the Salvation Army with food and management of the program being handled by different churches. There also are optional worship services provided as well. This also is the first available shelter in Suffolk for 2023.

“Previously we had been fortunate to host all the way from as early as November to as late as April, but this year we are concentrating our efforts to do 12 weeks straight and the first four weeks will be in the downtown Suffolk area at the Salvation Army,” according to Pruden.

From Feb. 1 to the last night of the program March 23, guests need to go to the downtown Suffolk area train station. Necessary requirements are to pass the breathalizer test and must not be a sex offender. Passing those two requirements will provide access to the shelter.

“As long as they will participate in what we need to have them work through, then we’re happy to house them and to give them food,” Pruden said. And that program is part of my responsibility in coordinating with the churches for those 12 weeks.”

Pruden explained the overall mission of the program.

“The CAPS program tries very much to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, and we are a Christian organization that works with the local churches to offer needed services for our neighbors in Suffolk.”

For more information, call (757) 286-9126 or go to capsuffolk.org/night-stay.