The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless will open for the winter Tuesday, two weeks earlier than originally planned because of the historic flood that struck the county earlier this month.

The shelter, located at 4869 Broadway, will make all of its 160 beds and services available immediately.

The shelter was able to make a small number of beds available for sober clients after the flooding, but didn't have the staffing to fully open the shelter previously.

"We actually opened 25 beds last Tuesday, because of the difficulties with the flood, and now we are going to open up at full capacity," Executive Director Greg Harms said.

The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is not usually open this time of year -- it originally was slated to open for winter on Oct. 15 -- except to people in the transitional program. But Harms said the shelter was concerned that many homeless were affected by the flooding and viewed opening the shelter as a way to help.

"(The flooding) impacted the homeless population as much as anybody," Harms said. "A lot of people's traditional campsites are gone, a lot of people lost belongings.

"That is our primary reason for opening up earlier."

The Red Cross shelter at the YMCA, 2850 Mapleton Ave., had been the only place during the flood that residents could stay overnight. That shelter, however, closed last Tuesday.

Prior to closing, the Red Cross handed out 55 tents, tarps and sleeping bags to "transitioning" residents leaving the YMCA.

"We provided shelter to a significant group of people who did not register at the shelter with a permanent address," said Catie Wheatley, spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

The Boulder Bridge House also provided 100 people with financial assistance to recover or acquire new identification that washed away with packs that some people carried their entire lives in.

"That was everything they had," said Isabel McDevitt, executive director of the Bridge House. "Everything they own was subject to the weather in a very real way.'"

McDevitt said the Bridge House is expecting 100 to 200 more clients by the end of December as a result of being displaced by the flood.

"We have started to see an increase in people who have become homeless due to the flood who haven't been able to get all the assistance they need," she said.

A Boulder homeless man who identified himself only as Steve said he thinks the homeless shelter opening up early because of the flooding was a good idea.

"We don't have much more warm weather left," he said. "People lost a lot in the flood, their bedrolls, blankets, their warm clothes. Some people have had to go back to zero."

Steve said he was one of those who was able to get into the shelter when it had 25 beds available, but said he has seen many other people who were in a bad spot because of the flooding and wanted a bed but had to be turned away. He said a lot of people will be happy to have the additional beds earlier this year.

"Absolutely, it will help," he said.

Adults may come to the shelter for dinner, overnight shelter and breakfast. Intake is between 5 and 7 p.m.

The shelter is scheduled to remain open through April 15.

For more information, visit

Denver Post reporting intern Alison Noon contributed to this report

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or