By Polly Keary, Editor
Temperatures are dropping and snow has hit the high country, but this year the area’s homeless will not face a winter as cold as those they have endured before.
When the thermometer dips below freezing and is projected to stay there for four hours or more, homeless people or people with inadequate shelter will be able to go to a cold weather shelter at one of several locations around the city.
The exact locations haven’t entirely been arranged, but Cascade Community Church has agreed to open its doors at least two nights per week.
The YMCA will also be available Saturday nights, as it closes early on Saturdays and opens late on Sundays.
The organizers of the cold weather shelters are looking for at least one more location and possibly two.
They are also looking for volunteers to staff and supervise the shelters during the nights they are open.
“Volunteers will set up the shelter, check people in, serve snacks, and they will supervise,” said Hannah Lunstrum of the Monroe YMCA, a lead organizer of the cold weather shelters. “We will need two volunteers to stay up all night, one shift until midnight and one from midnight to morning. That’s the biggest part.”
On very cold nights, organizers will call in volunteers to staff the shelter.
There will be a training session for volunteers at Cascade Community Church on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon, and Monday, Nov. 5, from 7-9 p.m.
Once the locations and schedule of which locations will be open on which nights has been established, information flyers will go out to places where they can reach the homeless. There will also be a hotline established to let people know where to find shelter on frigid nights.
The cold weather shelters are scheduled to become available after Nov. 15.