The Monroe Cold Weather Alliance, a local group of Sky Valley community members, is now offering a cold weather shelter. 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 shelter will open when temperatures are forecasted to remain below 33 degrees 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.
The shelter opens in different locations on different nights of the week, with the Monroe Covenant Church, the Rock Church, Cascade Community Church and the Monroe YMCA splitting the week between them. The schedule appears below.
Organizers said that often people aren’t aware how many homeless are living among them.
“Often times 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,” they said in a press release. “Instead, they are more spread out, often times 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 is staffed by teams of three-to-five volunteers, with at least three volunteers onsite, and at least one of them awake at all times.
Volunteer teams are in charge of setting up, supervising, cleaning and serving food. All food is 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.-midnight and midnight to 8 a.m.
The shelter will operate as needed through March 31.
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 email@example.com.
General information or inquiries: