Whatcom County Health and Community Services (The Health Department) will operate a temporary overnight severe winter shelter (SWS) for the 2023-2024 winter season at 810 N. State Street.
The SWS will open on a temporary basis when the weather forecast meets opening criteria. When possible, opening decisions will be made 48 hours in advance in order to support staffing and notifications.
On nights when it is open, the SWS will operate from 5:00 pm to 8:00 am. This program only operates overnight and is not open during the day.
Check the Whatcom County website www.whatcomcounty.us/SWS for information on when the SWS is open, as well as additional information on both temporary severe winter shelters and additional winter shelters that will be open nightly from Dec. 1, 2023 - Feb. 29, 2024.
The facility is expected to accommodate up to 45 people.
Paid on-site staff will manage the severe weather shelter on nights when it is open, with support from community volunteers. Staff will go through a training and orientation that includes first aid, CPR, behavioral health, de-escalation, and Naloxone administration. Uniformed security will be on site.
If you have concerns about the SWS, please contact us at [email protected]
During the summer months, Whatcom County Government, in cooperation with the City of Bellingham, published a funding opportunity (a request for proposals) seeking any interested nonprofit or organization willing to operate a severe winter shelter in Bellingham for the 2023-2024 winter season. Government agencies would provide funding for this effort. Unfortunately, no organization responded to the RFP to operate a severe winter shelter in Bellingham. With no nonprofit willing or able to provide this service, Whatcom County Health and Community Services has taken the necessary steps to fill this gap in services and operate a severe weather shelter facility for the 2023-2024 winter season.
Visit the section “How can I help? What can community members do to support sheltering efforts for unhoused neighbors?” on the winter shelter website: www.whatcomcounty.us/SWS