Posted: Sep 11, 2013 12:35 AM by KBZK News
Bozeman's Warming Center is scheduled to open later this fall but without donations, local homeless people may be left out in the cold.
Harry Pennington, a homeless man, said, "I sleep on the driver's side. Sometimes the passengers side."
Pennington has been sleeping in his car for about three years.
"I slide the driver's seat all the way forward and lean back as much as it will go," he said.
When it's open, Pennington chooses to sleep at the Warming Center.
"A warm place to sleep, kind of a homey feeling, some place to come, you got friends that you visit."
This is the fourth season for the Warming Center. After it moved into the current new building last year, the number of guests staying here has doubled.
"Over 130 different people - men, women and families - came here to the Warming Center looking for a place to get out of the cold," Sara Savage of the HRDC, said.
When guests visit, their first name, age and length of stay are displayed on paper hearts throughout the facility.
"We had guests stay with us from 3 years old to 73 years old," Savage said.
The Warming Center relies entirely on community donations. In order to get people out of the cold and into their beds, HRDC needs to raise $50,000 by December 1st.
"If we can get that amount raised then we'll start looking to open sooner," Savage said. "The more money, the sooner our doors will open."
And the sooner, the better for people like Pennington, who "almost turned on the heat" in his car this morning as it got slightly chilly.
The Warming Center is having a drive at the Gallatin Valley Mall on Wednesday, September 11th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., when they will be collecting blankets. The second event planned to raise funds for the center, will be held on Saturday, September 24th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Warming Center itself. Community members can donate blankets and other supplies while the center will be selling quilt squares for a community quilt.