Training session for "Out of the Cold' severe weather shelters on Dec. 9

Together with United Way of SJC and other supporters, “Out of the Cold” Friday Harbor Severe Weather Shelter will undertake this year to provide overnight shelter to vulnerable people in Friday Harbor during periods of extreme cold weather. The goal of the SWS is to operate temporary shelters on a rotating basis, for families and individuals. We have secured one site, Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church's 395 Spring Street location, and are waiting to hear from three more solid candidates with the hope of covering all weeks through March 15, 2019.



Today, we most urgently as the community to attend a one-time training session from 9 a.m. to 12 noon December 9. It is highly recommended that those interested make every effort to attend the training.

The Shelter program seeks candidates who will be paid a stipend to stay overnight in the Shelter when it is activated. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in helping in any way. Join our Facebook Group for regular updates in supporting this effort.

The following is a summary for the benefit of community partners who may be interested in the scope of this project or wish to get involved. It outlines our processes and is intended to encourage dialogue as we foster a network of collaboration towards achieving this goal. It is not intended to describe all of the facets of the day-to-day work of the shelter, which are unfolding, but to offer a summary of our vision and plans to date:

Program Summary

The Coordinator is on-call 24 hours a day for the period of approximately four months beginning November 24th, 2017, and ending upon mutual agreement of the steering committee when all severe weather appears to have reasonably passed. An Alternate may be designated, and the steering committee and volunteers support the efforts of the Coordinator;

Operation of the shelter commences upon activation by the Shelter Coordinator as reviewed with and agreed upon by two additional steering committee members with the advent of severe or windy cold weather;

In order to spread the undertaking to all of its contributors, the sites rotate between three and five locations, staffed and supplied by the SWS project;

Supplies are maintained by the SWS volunteers and delivered to consecutive sites, which are generally within the town of Friday Harbor (to be confirmed);

A minimum of two volunteer staff members are on the premises at all times during Shelter operation. One overnight shift is a stipend-paid position;

A minimum of five volunteers and one paid staff are necessary to activate the Shelter:

UNDER REVIEW are:

Evening Shift 7:30 to 11 pm (or as otherwise available);

Overnight 10:30 pm to 6:30 am;

Morning 6 to 10 am;

The Shelter Coordinator and volunteers are required to have minimum training, with the goal that they are trained in typical Shelter practices, de-escalation, and conflict management;

There is a message phone number in place for recipients to make requests for housing and to eliminate the need for people to line up outdoors for a bed, (360) 378-4121;

There is no provision or space for pets, and service animals must be considered on a case-by-case basis with proper certification;

We rely on SJEMS and SJC Sheriff's office to provide necessary emergency and medical support. The SJC Sheriff's Office or SJEMS will be called on to assist staff if a medical concern or matters of safety arise;

A simple soup dinner and simple breakfast are served once per day in the shelter, prepared on site and/or delivered;

Hot showers and laundry services are not available for shelter guests;

The shelter has clearly posted rules that all recipients of services must agree to and abide by or risk removal;

Incidents at an activated Shelter, as well as concerns raised by volunteers and community members are recorded and followed up on in a timely manner. Our on-site staff is available by phone or in person at the shelter, and our Coordinator is available to answer questions and help in any way possible.

At the onset of severe weather, anyone seeking Severe Weather Shelter or to learn whether the Shelter is activated can call (360) 378-4121 for current status and to leave a message for the Shelter Coordinator.

We hope this is good news for everyone, as we work together to shelter our friends and neighbors here in Friday Harbor.

- Winnie Brumsickle, Coordinator

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