SEATTLE — A number of shelters and warming centers will open up over the next couple days, as an arctic blast is set to move into western Washington.
Here's a look at some of the shelters that will be opening.
Seattle's Human Services Department (HSD) said it will open two overnight severe weather shelters as the area anticipates cold temperatures this weekend and into next week.
Both shelters will operate from Dec. 25 to 29 and open at 7 p.m. each night. The HSD said the Salvation Army and Compass Housing Alliance will manage operations and staffing for the two shelters, with support from city staff and other partners.
One shelter is at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, located at 301 Mercer St. People should enter through the main entrance off Mercer St and go down the stairs. The site will serve over 100 people of all genders ages 18 and up. Pets are allowed, and a hygiene station will be accessible.
The Compass Housing Alliance Shelter in Pioneer Square, located at 210 Alaskan Way S, will also be open. People should enter at the corner of S Washington St and Alaskan Way. The shelter will serve around 80 people of all genders ages 18 and up. Only service animals are allowed.
City staff are working with the YWCA and Mary's Place to coordinate sheltering families with children. If you are in need of shelter, call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-9274. Parents can also call the King County Emergency Family Shelter Intake Line at 206-245-1026 between 8 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.
"What it means to the community is that folks have the opportunity to come off the streets, into a warm place," said Simon Foster, Salvation Army Northwest Division director of operations. "To ensure that they have somewhere safe and somewhere that they can be fed."
The Salvation Army is already housing 241 people in its enhanced shelter in SODO, and is set to house 269 people starting Jan.1. They will administer the Seattle Center site.
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"There's a significant need out there, we have a lot of neighbors, friends and family who are on the street, and we are going to continue to help those and offer folks an opportunity to have a warm place to stay," said Foster.
Meanwhile, the city's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is coordinating with departments to monitor the expected cold weather and ensure the city is ready to respond.
"We're looking at a pretty long cold snap, so we're working with departments like public utilities, Seattle City Light, and a lot of those folks working in the field to make sure services will continue," said OEM's Kate Hutton. "So folks like SDOT who will keep the roads plowed if there is ice that falls and making sure our city services can continue."
Hutton said all residents can prepare for the cold weather by planning ahead. You can sign up for emergency information through AlertSeattle by clicking here.
Anyone planning to travel over the holiday weekend should check road and pass conditions before leaving and pack a preparedness bag in the vehicle. You should also prepare pipes and leave faucets open so pipes don't freeze.
As for day-time warming centers, the HSD said community members are encouraged to visit public spaces such as libraries and the Seattle Armory Center. The department said the Emergency Operations Center is collecting additional day and warming center location information and will share updated lists.
Additionally, Pierce County has gathered a number of resources for homeless individuals in partnership with Tacoma and the Coalition to End Homelessness.
Inclement weather shelter will be provided at the Tacoma Rescue Mission at 424 S. 30th Street where those seeking shelter will be checked in and then transported to Holy Rosary.
The following warming centers are also available:
- Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, located at 7700 Skansie Avenue in Gig Harbor, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Key Peninsula Civic Center, located at 17010 S Vaughn Raod NW in Vaugn, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Brotherhood Rise Center, located at 2136 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Tacoma, from 12:30 p.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Pierce County said that more options will likely become available indoors and for those who choose not to leave their outdoor location by Sunday, Dec. 26.
Tacoma will also be activating its Lighthouse Activity Center as a warming center on Sunday, Dec.26, though Sunday, Jan. 2. The center will be operating 24 hours a day.
Thurston County will open a daytime warming center starting Christmas Day. It will be at an old fire hall located at 201 Capitol Way North in Olympia.
Interfaith Works will operate the center. It will open on Dec. 25 at 3 p.m. and close at 8 p.m. The center will also be open Dec. 26 - 28 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
However, the warming center doesn't address the dire need for overnight shelter space.
The county has three overnight shelters available at the Union Gospel Mission, located at 413 Franklin St NE in Olympia, for single men and women, Family Support Center’s Pear Blossom Place, located at 837 7th Ave SE in Olympia, for families with children needing shelter, and Community Youth Services, located at 520 Pear St SE in Olympia, for youth ages 18-24. All three overnight shelters are expected to reach capacity.
It's estimated there are more than 1,000 people unhoused in the county, and right now, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the county has roughly 300 overnight shelter beds.