Warming center activation temperature rises

New threshold will be 24 degrees effective today

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.

The threshold at which the City will activate designated warming centers increased to 24 degrees effective today.

Councilmember Mike Allen made the suggestion, which could as much as double the nights the warming centers are open, and Steve Salvatori covered the cost by transferring $15,000 from his unfilled legislative aid budget. The City’s Community, Housing and Human Services department, which oversees the warming centers program, worked quickly with its partners at the request of Mayor David Condon to implement the new guidelines.

“The increase in temperature might seem modest, but we expect it will have a significant impact on our ability to bring people out of the cold during periods of extreme weather,” Salvatori said. “As we work to put our best foot forward as a community, it is important to show compassion through increases in funding that help those that are most vulnerable on a freezing night.”

Warming centers, which are not set up for lodging, are activated during periods of extreme cold weather at the request of the City from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. Volunteers of America Hope House serves single women and The Salvation Army serves single men, families with children and couples without children. The Volunteers of America Crosswalk serves as an on-call warming center for youth. The sites are available in addition to regular homeless shelters located throughout the City, allowing more people to get out of the cold.