Knox County residents are invited to attend three information sessions in September to learn more about an emergency winter shelter pilot program that hopes to assist people experiencing homelessness by providing a safe, warm place to sleep this winter.

The info sessions are hosted by the Community Emergency Shelter Committee, which includes local clergy, community leaders, and staff from the Knox County Homeless Coalition (KCHC). The group has been working for more than a year to launch a pilot program to protect vulnerable individuals and families from exposure when the temperature plummets. The Flanagan Community Rec Center,

in Rockland, is the proposed location for the pilot program and could open as early as December, depending upon funding.

The following info sessions will be an opportunity to learn more about the proposed shelter, as well as how to support the pilot, including volunteer and employment opportunities. The info sessions are scheduled for the following dates and places:

• Thursday, September 12, at 7 p.m. — Nativity Lutheran Church, 179 Old County Road, Rockport

• Thursday, September 19, at 1 p.m. — First Congregational Church–UCC of Camden, 55 Elm Street, Camden

• Thursday, September 26, at 5:30 p.m. — Flanagan Community Rec Center, 61 Limerock Street, Rockland

The winter months can be very harsh in midcoast Maine. KCHC’s Hospitality House Family Shelter in Rockport does provide beds for 22 individuals and families. In addition, churches and local town general assistance offices are sometimes able to help families pay for temporary stays in motels. However, these resources cannot serve the needs of all the homeless individuals, many of whom are children, in the area.

To learn more about the Community Emergency Shelter pilot, contact Jeanne Denny at 230-8227 or Donations can be mailed to: Emergency Shelter Pilot, P.O. Box 1255, Rockland, ME 04841. Make checks payable to “Knox County Homeless Coalition” and note: “Emergency Shelter Pilot Fund,” as KCHC is acting as the fiscal sponsor for the pilot.