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Claremore area churches plan to open emergency shelter

Posted at 4:33 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 20:39:57-04

CLAREMORE, Okla. — A dozen area Claremore churches plan to open an emergency shelter, just as soon as they find the right location.

After seeing a need in their community, the Claremore Ministerial Alliance started making plans for an emergency shelter.

“Three organizations that are part of the alliance kept records of the number of hotel rooms they provided last year for people that needed assistance and in just those three organizations, there were over 90 rooms," Pastor John Ray, Claremore Ministerial Alliance President, said.

Ray said they met with the City Board of Adjustments Tuesday to discuss an exception for parking and zoning rules to create the shelter at an old church in town.

Community members spoke up, worried about a shelter in the middle of a neighborhood and so close to a school.

Those concerns and other issues like insurance have them looking at other locations.

“We are doing a background," said committee member Sophia Carbajal. "It’s not like we’re going to let just anyone come. There are certain checks that we do.”

Carbajal is working to get the shelter going and said at one point in her life, she herself needed help.

“It was a domestic violence and I had nowhere to go. I was trying to run for my life and I was homeless for a few nights," Carbajal said. "It was dangerous.”

Regardless of where the location is, Carbajal and Ray said they’re main goal is to help others and strengthen area churches for a combined ministry in the city.

“I just feel in my heart that if it’s someone who is in need we should be able to lend a helping hand to our neighbor,” Carbajal said.

“We want to provide people with an opportunity to be ministered to and there’s a lot that you can do for someone after you’ve met their physical needs,” Ray said.

Ray said the alliance will be looking at two new locations in the coming weeks.

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