New Visions Offers Temporary Evening Shelter

New Visions Offers Temporary Evening Shelter
The long winter of 2015 and now the bitter cold adds more challenge to the already hard life of the homeless.


Note: The County Health officer distinguishes a Code Blue emergency from a Code Blue advisory. A Code Blue emergency represents a greater threat to life. The county has asked Joseph’s House to consider partnering with New Visions whenever an emergency is declared. Please check our Facebook page for up-to-date information about evening shelter at New Visions.

New Jersey has been more fortunate than our neighbors to the north regarding snowfall this winter.  However, the bitter cold of Valentine’s weekend and similar forecasts for the next week or more challenge survival for the thousands of homeless men, women, and children in our communities. Through its New Visions Homeless Day Shelter, Lutheran Social Ministries of NJ (LSMNJ)  routinely offers daytime relief to the homeless from the freezing temperatures.  This past weekend–in response to a request from Camden County officials and in partnership with Joseph’s House, New Visions’ next door neighbor and overnight homeless shelter—the daytime program was extended to temporarily also offer relief overnight.

On Wednesday, February 11th, Camden County reached out to Kevin Moran, executive director of New Visions, and John Klein, executive director of Joseph’s House, to discuss the possibility of Joseph’s House staff running an overnight program on the New Visions side of the building.  The request was for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights (2/13 to 7am 2/17) and in direct response to the pending extreme cold.
After discussion between the County, Joseph’s House, and LSMNJ, all agreed additional emergency shelter was needed.  In the past, Joseph’s House has turned away between 20-30 individuals on Code Blue nights.  By temporarily opening the New Visions side of the building for overnight use, all those needing relief from the extreme cold would have access to indoor shelter.  New Visions operated with this schedule this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights without incident and looks forward to doing the same tonite (Monday, 2/16).  Thanks to the partnership between Joseph’s House and LSMNJ and in cooperation with Camden County, 115 homeless persons–85 guests at Joseph’s House and 30 guests at New Visions–were warm and safe in these frigid nights.