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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: Haven House family shelter is in need of a new energy efficient refrigerator.

Our House's Wiley House homeless shelter in Fulton is returning to overnight hours starting July 7.

Back in March, the shelter moved to allow guests to stay during the day as a response to COVID-19.

As the pandemic spread, people across the country were instructed to stay home and many were sent home from work. Our House went to 24-hour operations so guests would have a safe place to go during the day.

But now, financial resources are strained.

"We can't sustain through the summer the increased cost of keeping it open 24 hours a day," Our House Executive Director Misty Dothage said.

Staying open all day meant the shelter was paying double — everything from utility costs to payroll increased.

"I would love to keep it open 24 hours, but I don't see how we could," Dothage said.

On July 7, Wiley House will also make changes to intake policies: Any new guests will have to take a COVID-19 test.

"Like most shelters in the area, we had to change our intake policies," Dothage said.

If a guest were to come in with COVID-19, it could spread to other guests, as well as staff and their families. Our House is looking for ways to secure funding to help guests afford testing.

"Our goal is to be able to not put that cost on someone who has no money," Dothage said.

If there's a spike in positive cases locally, the shelter might have to return to 24-hour operations later this year.

"There's no great answer other than more donations coming in," Dothage said.

The pandemic didn't just mean increased costs, it also meant a hit to revenue, as Our House had at least five fundraisers canceled this spring.

"COVID-19 was not a part of our budget plan," Dothage said.

When the pandemic first began, Our House received donations that helped fund the move to 24 hours at Wiley House initially.

"Our donations have really helped us," Dothage said. "They've been a blessing. It's been amazing to see the community step up and essentially give us a big hug."

Our House's family shelter, Haven House, was already a 24-hour shelter before the pandemic. That isn't changing.

But the family shelter needs a new refrigerator, and Our House hopes to purchase an energy-efficient model to help keep utility costs low.

The goal for the refrigerator campaign is $650. Donations can be made by texting "RUN" to 573-240-8756 or visiting

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