North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Cold weather shelters ready if temps drop

 

Christopher Andersson

The space used as a cold weather shelter at the Arlington United Church.

During nights when the temperature falls below freezing, shelters in Marysville and Arlington are open for homeless individuals who need a place to sleep for the night.

Both shelter programs are currently ready for the winter season.

Marysville Emergency Cold Weather Shelter

This is the fourth year that the Marysville Emergency Cold Weather Shelter will be open.

The program is run at the Damascus Road Church at 1048 State Ave., Marysville.

It is open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. during nights below 32 degrees. More information is available on their Facebook page or at marysvillecws.org.

The shelter provides "a safe place to go" during freezing nights, said Zoe Wlazlak, the shelter director. Homeless individuals are provided with a mattress with sheets and blankets, a full dinner and a light breakfast.

There are also sometimes donated blankets, socks or gloves available for those that need them.

The shelter partners with the local Salvation Army branch, said Wlazlak, so as they close at 7 a.m., the Salvation Army opens and usually provides a large breakfast.

Wlazlak said they hope to prevent death or other health problems because of the cold.

"We have had deaths due to cold exposure in Marysville," she said. "We don't want to see anyone go that way, it's a slow, miserable way to die."

"We've come to know some of these people through food programs, so we don't want them to be out in the cold," she said.

Shelter volunteers have also been able to help homeless individuals get back on their feet.

"When people come in there they also see someone does care for them, and that sometimes helps them get to other organizations to help get them off the street," said Wlazlak.

The Marysville program is still looking for volunteers, said Wlazlak.

"We're completely volunteer based, which can be tough to run a full staff when people have jobs and other responsibilities," she said.

The shelter is always looking for volunteers who can staff 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. shifts.

"We're just looking for people that can give a bit of their time for the community," she said.

Arlington Cold Weather Shelters

The Arlington cold weather shelter program is shared between four of the city's churches. To learn if a shelter will be open, individuals can call 360-403-4674.

Sundays and Moneys are handled by the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at 1200 E. 5th Street, Arlington.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are handled by Our Saviour's Lutheran Church at 615 E. Highland Dr., Arlington.

Fridays and Saturdays are at Arlington United Church at 338 N. MacLeod Ave., Arlington.

New this year is the Smokey Point Community Church at 17721 Smokey Point Blvd., Arlington, which is taking over Thursdays.

Because the Smokey Point Community Church is more on the west end of town, "it will be interesting to see the clientele they get over there," said Deena Jones, pastor at Arlington United Church, and one of the organizers of the Arlington cold weather shelter program.

Dinner, breakfast, blankets and a safe place to sleep are provided at the shelters.

Jones said there have been a lot of new volunteers this year "and we're hopeful that we can be more nights than in previous years," she said.

The shelter has always been open when the temperature is below freezing, however "there are some 34 or 35 degree nights where it's just raining cats and dogs, but we've been not able to open just because of staffing," she said. "Maybe this year we will be able to open more during those days."

For more information on volunteering, call 360-435-3259.

 

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