News Flash

Health - Public Health News

Posted on: December 22, 2022

Volunteers Needed to Support Severe Winter Shelter Providers

With the very cold weather we have seen in the last week, we want to thank our nonprofit partners who have operated severe winter overnight shelters and day-use warming facilities for our unhoused neighbors - Road2Home and Ferndale Community Services. 


No One Turned Away

Our nonprofit partners have operated severe winter shelters 23 days since Nov. 7 based on forecasted weather conditions. Road2Home and Ferndale Community Services have sheltered or found shelter for everyone who came to these facilities. Total numbers so far show that Road2Home has served 809 guests and Ferndale has served over 174 guests.


Volunteers Needed

There is an urgent need for volunteers to support the work of both Road2Home and Ferndale Community Services to provide winter shelter and warming services. If you’re looking for a way to get involved, please consider signing up to volunteer or, if you’re already signed up, please take that extra step to help staff the shelter when it is needed. 


More information on volunteering and how to support this work is at: 

Services for People Who Choose Not to Go to a Shelter

Outreach teams, like the Homeless Outreach Team at the Opportunity Council, are making rounds to spread information about shelters, encourage people experiencing homelessness to make use of those resources, and check-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.

The Bigger Picture on Homelessness and Housing

Sheltering during severe cold weather is only one aspect of a broader effort to address homelessness and its causes. Working together with our community partners, Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham invest approximately $15 million a year in support for those with critical housing needs: homelessness prevention for those at immediate risk; long-term housing stability for those left behind by the housing market; and crisis response – providing outreach, shelter and other basic needs to those who have become homeless.


In Conclusion

We will continue to support our partners who are providing both immediate shelter and long-term housing solutions. Right now there is an immediate need for volunteers to help both Road2Home and Ferndale Community Services provide severe winter shelter. They are doing heroic work and we ask you to help them if you can. More information at the links above to their websites. 

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