Emergency Severe Winter Shelter for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness 

Page Last reviewed: March 1, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.

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During severe cold weather, it is important for individuals without housing to have access to warm shelter. Whatcom County Health and Community Services and the City of Bellingham have contracted with the nonprofit Road2Home to provide overnight severe winter shelter (SWS) services and a day-use warming center when forecasts predict certain temperature and precipitation conditions

Severe Weather Shelters and Center Status

  • Bellingham Overnight Shelter Status (6pm-9am): Currently closed, no scheduled activation.
  • Ferndale Overnight Shelter Status (5pm-8am): Currently closed, no scheduled activation. 
  • Bellingham Day Warming Center (9:30am-5:30pm): Currently closed, no scheduled activation. 

You can call 360-788-7983 for severe weather shelter availability. For more information about each location, go to our Severe Winter Shelter and Warming Center Locations section of this page. 

What Criteria Opens the Overnight Severe Winter Shelters?

The Whatcom County Health and Community Services activates the Bellingham overnight shelter and the Bellingham day-use warming center using pre-established criteria that are based on Severe Weather Guiding Assumptions 2022 (PDF)

Severe Winter Shelter and Warming Center Locations

  • Bellingham overnight shelter is located at the Civic Field locker rooms (1355 Civic Field Way, Bellingham). See the open/closed indicator at the top of this page to know whether this shelter is open. When criteria to open the shelter are met, the shelter is open from 6pm to 9am.Only emotional support and ESA animals are allowed at the overnight shelter. Minors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
  • Ferndale overnight shelter -Ferndale Community Services will offer severe winter shelter overnight for individuals and families. When criteria to open the shelter are met, the shelter is open from 5pm to 8am. Visit their Severe Winter Shelter webpage or call 360-380-2200 ext. 4 to find out if they are open.
  • The Bellingham day-use warming center will be located at the Bellingham Public Library Central Branch's Lecture Room (210 Central Avenue, Bellingham) when opening criteria is met. When open, this day-use warming center will operate from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

Base Camp is a year-around shelter available for adults experiencing homelessness. They have also partnered with CTK to offer additional shelter capacity every night from Dec. 1 – Feb 28, no matter what the weather conditions look like. Individuals should check in at Basecamp and will then be transported to the additional space.

People who have gone to the Civic Field emergency shelter in the last few nights are encouraged to instead spend nights at these newly available CTK locations. With the added capacity facilities opening tonight, the Bellingham Severe Winter Shelter will be limited to 45 clients. Both pets and service animals are welcome in CTK spaces.

If you have previously had issues at Basecamp before, you are encouraged to check in for a CTK space. Learn more about Base Camp at their website

Unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness can visit the Northwest Youth Services Whatcom Housing webpage to learn more about housing options for youth. 

How can I help? What can community members do to support sheltering efforts for unhoused neighbors?

Contact Road2Home, the provider who will staff the Bellingham day-use warming center and Bellingham overnight severe winter shelter, to find out about volunteering: Road2Home, or reach out to Ferndale Community Services, Base Camp or CTK to support their winter sheltering operations.

What is being done for individuals who prefer not to access available shelter resources?

Outreach teams, like the Homeless Outreach Team at Opportunity Council, are making rounds to spread information about shelters, encourage people experiencing homelessness to make use of those resources, and checking-in to address immediate safety concerns. For individuals who are uncomfortable in shelters or choose not to use them for other reasons, life-safety is supported by various community groups that provide warm clothing, sleeping bags, and energy-rich foods. If you are concerned about the safety of a person sleeping outdoors and want to know more about how you can help, please contact Opportunity Council’s Homeless Outreach Team at 360-312-3717.

For more information about what is being done to increase permanent shelter in our community: