Brother Francis Shelter in Kodiak is the only shelter available to members of the homeless population, and therefore the only escape from the town’s recent nighttime drops in temperature.
Brother Francis director Monte Hawver said the key to keeping everyone alive during cold winter nights is flexibility. He said the current policy is that if a person has been at the shelter for 30 days, they must be sober to use the shelter facilities. But, if the weather is bad enough, the night supervisor may allow the person to enter.
“Basically, what I tell my guys is I can fix a lot of things, but I can’t fix dead,” Hawver said. “So our goal for the last 26 years, we’ve been blessed to have not have somebody dies because of exposure. Our goal is to make sure that we don’t lose anyone due to the elements.”
Hawver said that staff may isolate an intoxicated person or, if their behavior calls for it, turn them over the police, who can give them shelter from the bitter wind in the local jail. That’s standard wintertime policy, he said.