Sheila Morley

Warming centers open in response to extreme cold

Sheila Morley, No Title, No Phone Number Available

Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.

Warming centers open in response to extreme cold

Being homeless is far from a safe environment; however the risk to these vulnerable individuals and families’ health and well-being is exacerbated during times of extreme cold weather. This past week has been a challenge for those living on the streets and the frigid forecast doesn’t show much of a reprieve.

In an effort to reduce the risk to this vulnerable population, the City of Spokane administers a Warming Center Program through the extreme cold weather months of November through February. The program has been in effect since 2006 and has served more than 2,800 single adult men, 280 families with children and 27 single women. Warming Centers provide a warm safe place for individuals who can’t get a shelter bed and operated from 8 pm – 7 am. The centers are activated when temperatures drop to 20 degrees or below and when emergency shelter beds are limited.

Extreme temperatures have forced the activation of the Warming Centers several nights over the past week. On Dec. 4, when temperatures in the city dropped to 11 degrees, 25 single men and 2 families with children accessed the Warming Centers.

Shawna Sampson, Social Services Director for The Salvation Army states that when the single men arrive at the warming center they have been out in the weather all day, on their feet and in survival mode: “When they arrive they are just exhausted.”

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