MARTINEZ -- An emergency housing shelter that aids the needy found out plenty of people are willing to help with its needs, too.
Shelter Inc., the Martinez-based facility that helps homeless families get back on their feet, announced Tuesday that its two-month fundraising drive has brought in $94,000, enough to keep the facility operating without interruption to services.
"People understand that (this) is a necessary resource for this community, and they don't want to see it go away," said Shelter Inc. Executive Director Tim O'Keefe. "I think the outstanding response shows widespread understanding that homelessness is a critical issue in Contra Costa County."
The shelter, the only one of its kind in East and Central Contra Costa County, faced a budget shortfall of $78,000 and the possibility of eliminating its mental health and educational counseling services for adults and children.
"We feel real fortunate," facility spokeswoman Chris Flitter said. "Some of the donors who hadn't given in a while wrote a check. Some of the usual donors wrote bigger checks than normal."
The facility houses approximately 140 men, women and children per year, giving them access to employment specialists, mental health counselors and parenting and nutrition classes. The average stay by a visitor is 90 days.
The facility appealed to the public in April, when news of its budget crisis came to light. Once the organization raised $23,000 from community donations, the Quest Foundation of Danville, a charitable organization, doubled that total with its own donation of $46,000.
Other donations brought final amount to $94,000, more than the $78,000 needed to keep services intact, giving the shelter a $16,000 budget head start for the next fiscal year.
"As an organization you always worry at the end of the fiscal year," Flitter said. "We run really tight, and that's on purpose, and then you have expenses and other developments that come up that you can't plan for. But this gives us a good start for July 1, and of course, that's when our efforts have to start all over again."
According to the shelter, an estimated 7,500 homeless people inhabit Contra Costa County, almost half of them children.
Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rderh