The City has partnered with ACCESS and other community agencies to open and operate a severe event shelter based on forecasted weather conditions. Throughout the past week the severe event shelter has opened a total of four nights.
It is the City’s responsibility to monitor forecasted weather conditions, coordinate with service providers to determine staffing ability and if staffing is available, declare a severe weather event. ACCESS is responsible for coordinating the shelter and associated services which include volunteers.
The severe event shelter, located at the Navigation Center – 685 Market Street, operates during the winter season between the hours of 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 a.m. when a severe weather event is declared. Services include food, bedding and dry storage capabilities.
The shelter served 19 people on December 9, 25 people on December 13, 34 people on December 14, and 38 people on December 15.
When available beds were full, individuals were offered the opportunity to warm up inside with warm beverages.
Both the City and ACCESS are actively evaluating operations and have been making updates in an effort to serve as many individuals as possible.
As of Thursday and as a result of feedback collected throughout the four days of the shelter being open, shelter capacity has been expanded to 50 and additional bedding has been secured. If an individual arrives at the shelter and a bed is not available, that individual will be able to rest in the building, out of weather conditions.
The shelter is low barrier, thus does not require any religious affiliation or drug testing to enter.
Multiple communication channels are utilized by the City, ACCESS and local organizations in an effort to provide information about the shelter and reach as many individuals as possible. Information about the shelter is distributed to the local media, social media platforms and websites, email notification to numerous local organizations, text alerts, and printed handouts.
Staffing the shelter is reliant on ACCESS volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering may fill out a volunteer application at accesshelps.org/volunteer. Residents who would like to be notified when the shelter is opened can text MED4SHELTERS to 888777.
We will continue to evaluate shelter operations and make necessary adjustments based on the capacity of all partners involved.