HOWTO: Help during cold weather shelter

created: 2017-11-07; status: notes; tagged: orientation

If you take away one piece of information from these minutes: Volunteers are not expected to stay up all night when we open the building for cold weather shelter.

Agencies providing cold weather shelter

Thurston county’s Cold Weather Overnight Shelters include

See also Year Round Day & Night Shelters.

Overview: Cold Weather Season at Pear Blossom Place

Thurston County funds the Cold Weather Season in our community, including additional emergency family shelter beds at Pear Blossom Place. This year we have moved to a cold weather “season” as opposed to a night to night determination of availability based on temperature. The cold weather season operates from November 1 to April 30, and Pear Blossom Place opens additional beds from 7:00PM to 9:00AM every day.

Building capacity is 70 people.

The Family Support Center is contracted to provide 20 additional beds every night during the cold weather season. However, as a family support organization, and these beds being a life saving measure, it is highly unlikely we will ever turn someone away from cold weather shelter. Our maximum building capacity for the 1st floor is 70 people, allowing for additional 31 spots being available. In the event more than 25 people show up for cold weather shelter, the on-call staff person will be contacted to identify a plan to shelter additional people as we approach fire code (such as hotel stays, etc.).

Hours are 7pm–9am.

Cold weather shelter runs from 7pm to 9am, with FSCSS paid staff arriving at 7:00PM to get set up for the evening. Our families staying at cold weather know the hours are 7:00PM to 9:00AM, and occasionally may arrive a few minutes early as we enter really cold weather. Volunteers are not expected to manage cold weather families, and the staff person who arrives at 7:00 can get everyone set up. Volunteer can encourage families to visit the Salvation Army for dinner, then return at 7pm. (TODO: create map of heated buildings open to the public.)

Screened entry: check if registered sex offender.

The first time someone comes for cold weather shelter, we need to run their first/last name through the sex offender registry. Volunteers are welcome to search the sex offender registry, especially if they are letting someone in before FSCSS staff arrive. Registered Sex Offenders may not stay on property.

Sleeping Arrangements

We keep additional mats, blankets, and pillows in the bike closet. Note: 30 people require lots of room: both the bike closet and the living room will be crowded. FSCSS staff will move furniture around 8:45pm to make room on the floor to sleep. The lights do not turn off in the common room.

We ask long-term shelter residents to retire to their rooms after 9pm. (Note: this is not a hard rule. It’s more important that the kids go to their rooms at 9pm than their parents.) We want to block off time for cold weather families to sleep.

No personal belongings during daytime.

We unfortunately do not heave the storage space to hold families items during the day, so we ask families to take their belongings with them.

No laundry or showers on site.

Due to capacity, we unfortunately cannot provide shower or laundry services for families staying for cold weather. However, if a kiddo gets sick or a family only has soaking wet clothing then of course we can make an exception and offer a shower or laundry. Families may use the kitchen space in the common area, though we ask they clean up and do not keep any food in the cabinets/refrigerator as other families may eat it.

We provide shower vouchers for the YMCA. We keep vouchers in a silver file cabinet under the front desk.

Where to go during the day?

At 9am we ask families to leave Pear Blossom Place. We can support families by referring them to these heated buildings during the day.