The Whatcom County Health Department and City of Bellingham have partnered with Road2Home (R2H) to offer additional overnight shelter and daytime warming options when weather is severe enough to threaten health and safety. These temporary facilities will be activated when forecasts predict specific and dangerous temperature and precipitation conditions.
When activated, these services will remain open during severe weather, including weekends and holidays, and are available to anyone who needs them without a referral. The facilities will be staffed by R2H staff and volunteers during all hours of operation.
These new services are available just in time, with severe weather in the forecast for next week. The Overnight Severe Weather Shelter is scheduled to be activated overnight Monday and Tuesday, November 7-8, 2022, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Weather forecasts are monitored daily and changes to severe weather services made and announced as needed. For updates on the open/closed status of each facility, call the night-by-night shelter hotline at (360) 788-7983 or visit the Emergency Severe Winter Shelter page on the Whatcom County Health Department website.
The City and County have each contracted with the local nonprofit Road2Home to operate these services during severe weather events. The facilities will be activated when specific weather conditions and other criteria are met.
“Our community has programs and facilities for year-around emergency shelter and many other services for individuals and families who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness,” Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said. “Severe weather, however, can push our community’s shelter resources past capacity at a time when it’s too dangerous to remain outdoors. We’re grateful to Road2Home and the Health Department for partnering with us to serve this important need.”
“I am pleased to see such close cooperation between our Health Department, the City of Bellingham and Road2Home,” Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu said. “We care about the health and safety of our neighbors, and we help people in need. These are our community values in action.”
“Road2Home is pleased to be able to support our community this winter through severe weather programs,” Ashley Buerger, executive director of Road2Home, said. “Winter is a difficult season for many. We have a team of staff and volunteers who understand these challenges and are passionate about bringing guests in from the cold. We know what it means to be part of something so vital and we are grateful to the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County for prioritizing severe weather programs.”
These temporary programs join other winter-specific services expected to be available this season, including partnerships between Lighthouse Mission and Christ the King Church, between First Presbyterian Church and the YWCA, and services hosted by Ferndale Community Services, that will increase shelter space over the winter.
Bellingham Day-Use Warming Center
Bellingham Overnight Severe Weather Shelter
While no referrals are required for individuals to use temporary severe weather services, referrals to these programs may be made by various outreach teams and community partners who will be kept up-to-date about severe weather program status. The programs will be operated by Road2Home with funding contracts from the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom County Health Department.
Community members interested in helping support these winter services can visit road2home.org, reach out to Road2Home at [email protected], or visit ferndalecs.org for information about how to get involved.