On Tuesday, Friends in Crisis staff members received news: the facility at 412 E. Sprott St. is temporarily closing its doors on Saturday.
The $1.4 million renovated church is operated through Families In Crisis, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and leadership is now seeking funds to continue its operations, mostly funded by donations.
“We want to stress that this is most definitely temporary. We are looking at grants both traditional and nontraditional like GoFundMe,” Families In Crisis director of programs Suzanne Armour said.
The organization also operates two shelters for domestic violence victims — one in Killeen that houses 65 people and one in Temple that houses 15.
Both Armour and board vice president Larry Moehnke stated the closing will not affect those facilities.
The cost to run the shelter — which opened its doors on Dec. 23, 2015 — averages $1,000 a day, totaling $30,000 monthly, Armour.
The shelter serves a daily average of 75 people, some 15 percent of them veterans. Just in 2019 alone, the shelter received 245 new clients, Armour. In the last three months, 26 children received services.
The decision to temporarily close the shelter was made by board members on Monday evening, Moehnke said.
“We had a shortfall of financial issues and heavily rely on the community to support,” Moehnke said.
Tuesday afternoon, shelter staff expressed sadness before opening the shelter’s doors. None of the clients had yet heard the news.
Maria Carmona has been involved with Families in Crisis for 26 years, she’s been employed by the shelter since its opening.
“We took the news hard. There is alot to be done and not enough time,” she said.
Arsean Session, 31, is a cook who has been employed there for a year. He used to be a client at the homeless shelter.
“What else can you do? It hurts but I understand that things like this is going to happen,” he said.
Killeen Police Department Chief Charles ‘Chuck’ Kimble said in an email to the Herald, the department is saddened by the news.
“It is unfortunate that Friends in Crisis will be ending the services they have been providing to the homeless community. The Killeen Police Department is committed to continue working with our community partners to end homelessness in Killeen. Officer Kyle Moore will continue to be the Police Department’s liaison on homeless matters. We truly understand that homelessness by itself is not a crime, but we will enforce criminal activity as it presents itself,” Kimble wrote.
Ways to donate:
- The shelter’s website has a donate option: http://familiesincrisis.net/
- A fundraiser was created on Facebook by Lisa Griffin, a board member of the shelter, and Mike Kriegel, the board president: https://www.facebook.com/donate/301357674123600/301357677456933/
- By mail: Checks can be sent to Families in Crises, P.O. Box 25, Killeen, TX., 76540.
- GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/friends-in-crisis-shelter
For more information or to donate, call 254-634-1184 or mail to Friends in Crisis, P.O. Box 25, Killeen Texas 76540.