The Monroe Cold Weather Alliance, a local group of Sky Valley community members, is opening a cold weather shelter from Nov. 24 to March 31. The purpose is to provide warmth, safety, shelter and food during times of inclement weather for those who are homeless or under-housed, so that no one dies.
The criterion to open the shelter is when temperatures drop below 33 degrees and is anticipated to remain that low for four hours or more during the night. The city of Monroe will make the determination each day by 2 p.m. whether to open the shelter, depending on the forecast.
Organizers said that often people aren’t aware how many homeless are living among them.
“Oftentimes this is the case because our homeless neighbors are not out in the open, or concentrated in shelters and downtown walkways, as you may find in larger cities,” organizers stated in a press release. “Instead, they are more spread out, oftentimes in the surrounding wooded areas, living in tents, or substandard trailers. During the winter, this becomes very problematic and even dangerous for these individuals. They are often confronted with the difficult task of staying warm enough to survive freezing nights.”
“I work closely with many homeless individuals and families in the Sky Valley area. Some have come in on a morning after being outside in the freezing weather all night,” said Janos Kendall, director of Take the Next Step Monroe. “The effects of this are obvious. They seem close to hypothermia. They are shivering and discolored. I’ve even seen icicles hanging from one man’s facial hair and a teen came in with frostbite on her toes. One homeless client shared a story with me about how he had to ‘save’ a homeless woman who was curled up shivering next to a tree, seeming close to ‘freezing to death.’ Others reported walking all night just to keep from freezing.”
The 2012 Snohomish County Point in Time Count found 2,387 homeless individuals – 286 in the Monroe/Sky Valley area.
The shelter will be staffed by teams of three to five volunteers. There will always be at least three volunteers on-site; one awake at all times.
Volunteer teams will be in charge of setting up, supervising, cleaning and serving food. All food will be provided by the Sky Valley Food Bank. Volunteers are still needed and may sign up for a single night or take a day of the week for a month or longer, depending on their availability, for shifts of 7 p.m. to midnight and midnight to 8 a.m.
Donations of canned/non-perishable food, new socks, and small toiletries are needed, and can be made to the Sky Valley Food Bank. Cash donations can be made to the Food Bank or at the Monroe YMCA to help support the shelter.
Monroe Cold Weather Shelter Locations and Hours:
Sunday – Monroe Covenant Church, 202 S. Sams St., 8 p.m.-7 a.m.
Monday – The Rock Church, 16891 146the St. S.E., 8 p.m.-7 a.m.
Tuesday – Cascade Community Church, 14377 Fryelands Blvd. S.E.,10 p.m.-7 a.m.
Wednesday – Cascade Community Church, 14377 Fryelands Blvd. S.E.,10 p.m.-7 a.m.
Thursday – Cascade Community Church, 14377 Fryelands Blvd. S.E.,10 p.m.-7 a.m.
Friday – Monroe Covenant Church, 202 S. Sams St., 8 p.m.-7 a.m.
Saturday – Monroe YMCA, 14033 Fryelands Blvd. S.E., 8 p.m.-7 a.m.
Call the Shelter Hotline after 2 p.m. each day to see if it has been activated.
SHELTER HOTLINE: 360-453-7622
To volunteer, call Therese Quinn-Burke at 425-388-5075 or 425-870-3572, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General information or inquiries: