Submitted by Thurston County
The National Weather Service has issued a forecast for below freezing nighttime weather patterns in the Puget Sound Wednesday, November 30 through Friday, December 2. In response, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is issuing a “Hazardous Weather” advisory to increase shelter-in-place efforts and offer extended nightly shelter beds, starting Wednesday, November 30. As staffing allows, this may be extended nightly from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. through Friday, December 2.
Extended overnight shelter beds will be provided for single adults over the age of 18 at First Christian Church located at 701 Franklin St SE, Olympia, WA 98501 starting Wednesday night. Shelter-in Place survival gear distribution in unsheltered communities began Tuesday, Novomber 29, and will continue throughout the week.
County, city, and local advocacy and non-profit organizations have been working together as the Hazardous Weather Task Force (HWTF) to address harsh weather conditions and its effects on vulnerable unsheltered populations. The HWTF developed the hazardous weather response model to be enacted during extremely cold or hazardous weather conditions.
During a hazardous weather response, organizations, including HWTF members, take special measures to keep people who are homeless safe by expanding shelter services to accommodate the increased need. In addition, the HWTF is empowered to distribute shelter-in-place supplies, such as blankets and water, to those in the homeless community who are unable to leave their location.
During this hazardous weather activation period, shelter options are available at the Union Gospel Mission, 413 Franklin Street NE in Olympia, for single men and women. St. Michael’s Parish for single men through Sidewalk, Family Support Center’s Pear Blossom Place, 837 7th Avenue SE in Olympia, is available for families with children needing shelter, and Community Youth Services, 520 Pear Street SE in Olympia, is available for youth ages 18-24.
Donations of blankets, twin/single bed sheets, ramen, non-perishable snacks, coffee, creamer, hot tea, hot chocolate, disposable cups and utensils, socks, long johns, underwear, tarps, ponchos, hand warmers, sleeping bags, tents, gloves/mittens, hats, and warm clothing are needed. Donations will be accepted at 701 Franklin St SE, Olympia Wednesday, Nov. 30. Donations will also be accepted Thursday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Volunteers for the shelter will need to have gone through an official Hazardous Weather Shelter Volunteer Training through Interfaith Works. For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact Brock.firstname.lastname@example.org or Keylee Marineau at (360) 490-5910 or Keylee.email@example.com.
For more information about homelessness in Thurston County, visit the Thurston County website.