Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm Able to Bundle Up... Not Everyone Is As Fortunate....

For many of us, a dip in temperatures is an inconvenience and something we take for granted.  For most of us, when temperatures drop, we may throw on an extra layer, turn up the thermostat, or stoke the fireplace, but for many in our community, even a modest drop in temperature can lead something more severe and potentially death.

Over the weekend with the bitter cold here in the Vancouver area, (something we do not see regularly), I found myself thinking a bit more about those who are less fortunate and do not have the simple luxuries of turning up the heat, or an extra jacket, hat and gloves, or even that roof over their head to turn up the heat in.   As an emergency manager I was aware of some of the shelter programs within the city and county, but were these enough to handle the need during a cold snap like what we are currently in the middle of?

I went to to find more on locations throughout the region.  As I got to Clark County, I found one phone number, 360-695-9677  that directed me to a live person to help match up my need if I did need help.  The Council for the Homeless is behind the number, which helps organize and find temporary housing for those in need.  The Winter Hospitality Overflow or WHO operates from November 1st - March 31st of each year.  It is a team effort between the Council and several partners within the faith community and volunteers from throughout the community that come together to help provide additional shelter space during the coldest months when the need increases.

Need Assistance?

WHO beds are available on a first-call, first-serve basis through the Council for the Homeless Housing Hotline. To access these beds, call the Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677. Families, couples and single females can call anytime from 9 am – 5 pm Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and 9 am – 7 pm on Tuesday and Thursdays, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 12 pm; single males can call Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 11am – 5 pm and Tuesday and Thursday 11 am – 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 12 pm.

Quick Facts

  • St. Andrew has a bed capacity of 42 for single women, couples and families, plus 8 additional emergency family spots, for a total of 50 beds.
  • St. Paul has a bed capacity of 24 for single men.
  • Each WHO shelter is staffed with professional Share case managers who help guests work toward self-sufficiency.
  • More than 50 faith congregations and community organizations have donated time and talent to ensure each WHO site is open for five full months!

The Council for the Homeless can also be found on Facebook.  They have been involved in many area bazaars recently and have been selling their Good Deeds with Beads.  They will also be in the lobby of the Kiggins Theater Wednesday,  November 19th during Hello Vancouver selling their bracelets.

Please join me in supporting this non-profit providing emergency shelter to those in need.Demand for services far exceeds available funding.  If you are able to help support through donations or would like to learn more about how to volunteer, please contact Kevin Hiebert.

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