Rita Markley Announces Winter Location for Daystation
Yesterday our Executive Director, Rita Markley, was excited to announce that a community partnership with the First United Methodist Church has resulted in a temporary space for sheltering homeless adults in the Burlington area through the end of March. The church is offering their parsonage on Buell Street for the coming winter.
Recently, Rita’s been running against the clock to secure a relocated Daystation shelter before the winter chill arrived. She admitted that it was a huge relief to have the interim location finally secured.
“First United Methodist Church in Burlington is blessed with the facilities we have, and we are grateful when we can partner with organizations like COTS to serve our neighbors,” said the Rev. Mark Demers of First United Methodist.
Last year, the Daystation served 926 individuals. Many guests are veterans, elderly and disabled. Overall, about 95% of clients in this program are extremely low income (30% of median), while 5% are low income (50% of median).
“Their gift will ensure that vulnerable adults will have a safe, decent place to find daytime shelter and connect with COTS services this coming winter,” said Rita.
And it’s innovation and passion that enables the COTS team to find these kinds of solutions. In a past interview with Lynn Monty of the Free Press, Rita said, [With limited opportunities], you can start out with that bright shining light, and it gets darker and darker as each year passes by, and you stop believing that there are better things that are possible for you.”
Keeping the Daystation doors open year round is part of keeping that light bright for the homeless adults of our community. Our best chances of moving these individuals out of homelessness is in maintaining access to the programs and services that can help break the cycle of homelessness.
Sheltering the most vulnerable in our community is vital, especially when the weather turns extreme, but Rita stresses that shelter is not a solution to homelessness. Instead she pushes herself and others in her field to think about this question: “What can we do so that 20 years from now people don’t need shelters in the first place?”