Those needing relief from severe cold temperatures could be housed at the Red Rock Lodge under an agreement proposed last week between lodge general manager Jeramy Day and a subcommittee of the Homeless Coordinating Committee.
“That’s something we could do tomorrow,” Day said. “It’s definitely doable on our part until about the second week in March.”
Some details still must be worked out before the proposal could become a reality, and the idea would need approval from the full Homeless Coordinating Committee. But subcommittee members are moving forward with plans to set up training for volunteers willing to help, said committee member Audrey Graham.
Day said the lodge at 51 N. 100 West has room for 16 to 20 people per night when the temperature plunges. They can be housed in rooms big enough for four to five people at $25 per room per night.
That’s less than half of the lodge’s $55 overnight winter rate, he said.
“I’m willing to lower that rate to do something for the community,” Day said, adding that his father, owner Randy Day, feels the same way about providing emergency housing.
The money will cover housekeeping and laundry costs while keeping some employees on the payroll a few more months, Jeramy Day said during an interview.
The meeting Thursday, Dec. 13, was the second time the subcommittee met to brainstorm a way to keep homeless people from suffering, or possibly dying, during cold snaps. Subcommittee members emphasized that finding temporary lodging is an emergency solution, not a long-term answer to the issue of homelessness in Moab.
Those who stay at the lodge may not smoke, although subcommittee members indicated they probably would admit people who had consumed alcohol during the day.
“The homeless we have here don’t know it’s cold until it’s cold, and by then they’ve had a couple drinks,” said jail commander Veronica Bullock of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
Subcommittee members tentatively decided to pay for rooms with donations to the Salvation Army. Two subcommittee members with experience working in emergency shelters will hold training sessions for volunteers who will monitor overnight guests during their stay.
Once in the lodge for the evening, tenants will not be permitted to leave until the next morning, according to proposed rules.
The offer from Red Rock Lodge solves the immediate dilemma for this winter. However, Jeramy Day noted the lodge is likely to be closed next winter to make way for an upscale resort.
Subcommittee members decided to explore the possibility of using the Melich House basement during winter months next year. That county-owned facility on 100 East would need upgrades including a basement doorway to meet code, Grand County facilities manager Marvin Day noted.
On-call Grand County Emergency Medical Services personnel currently use the upstairs portion of the house, which is adjacent to the county courthouse.