Ashley Brown coordinates Room in the Inn, a Roof Above tradition since 1996. The program houses neighbors during the cold weather months, from December 1 to March 31, while building bridges in the faith community and beyond. Ashley works with organizations of diverse backgrounds, all with the heart to serve our community.
Many of the program’s original sites continue to support this work. Due to COVID, this year there are 55 host sites, down from 110 in typical years. “We have some who serve six people and some who can serve up to 24,” Ashley says. “It just depends on their capacity, experience, and if they can safely spread folks out for social distancing. Each site is different, which allows us to offer a variety of experiences for our neighbors.”
To participate in Room in the Inn, individuals must present an ID and be fully vaccinated. Visiting the sites, Ashley gets to witnesses the first-hand impact this program has on neighbors. “I know our neighbors greatly appreciate the time to be in smaller numbers,” Ashley says. “It might be something as small as eating off of a glass dinner plate. Our shelters do an incredible job serving guests in mass numbers, but sometimes it’s good to be able to be in smaller numbers and have a good time with volunteers and watch a game.”
Ashley has served in many roles since her arrival in August of 2015 as an AmeriCrorps VISTA intern for education. She has a master’s degree in diplomacy and international conflict management, which can be useful in her current role.
As we continue to unite the community to end homelessness one life at a time, we’d like to take a moment to thank all of our Room In the Inn sites for extending your facilities to house our unsheltered neighbors. “It’s very easy to fall into homelessness. Circumstances are unique to each person,” Ashley says. “In a lot of ways, I’ve seen myself in neighbors’ stories. It’s humbling work.”