061821_SHELTER_NP_PICTURE

A sign marks the location of a Downtown St. Joseph location of Community Action Partnership. All locations within the local branch will be shut down for at least a month because of staff shortages.

There now is one fewer resource for the homeless community in St. Joseph with the local Community Action Partnership Branch closing.

The Community Action Partnership of Greater St. Joseph will be closed for at least a month, and it could be longer.

The branch is closing due to staffing shortages. A minimum of 12 employees are needed to function, and 16 are ideal, branch director Whitney Lanning said. There currently are four staff members.

“It was really impossible to be able to provide overnight supervision in a safe way for our staff,” she said. “And so, we’ve been putting it together, and our staff has been working 50, 60 hours a week, and you know, that was not sustainable.”

Either more employees are needed or alternatives must be found to function with fewer staff, Lanning said.

The number of people using the shelter recently also has been well below capacity, Lanning said. There were 16 people staying there earlier this past week, around 35% of the limit.

“We have a capacity for over 50,” she said. “The summer months kind of effect that as well.”

New locations were found for all people who were staying at the shelter, she said.

Staffing issues aren’t for lack of funding or applications, Lanning said.

“I think that’s what has really turned the solutions development on its head, is that, you know, it’s not a funding problem,” she said. “Most always when you have crises like this, it’s because of lack of funds, and that’s not the situation here. We have the funds to operate.”

Anyone interested in applying should call the branch at 816-233-8281.

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Alexander Simone can be reached at alex.simone@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter at @np_simone.

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