Warming shelter opened at St. William’s Parish
Shelter a collaboration of different homeless services groups and parish
–St. William’s Parish in Atascadero offers its facilities to be used as a warming center for individuals who are homeless. The warming center will be open on rainy or cold weather days when the temperature at night is forecast to be 35-degrees or colder. The North County Homeless Services Coalition will lead the effort in recruiting and training volunteers to staff the center. SLO County Homeless Services will fund the program. El Camino Homeless Organization has agreed to participate as the fiscal agency, so funding from the county is dispersed to participants such as St. William’s Parish for incidentals such as cleaning and supplies. The Board of Directors of The Link led the collaboration to make the warming center possible. The City of Atascadero has reviewed and approved the program.
The Department of Homeless Services in 2013 estimated that 3,497 persons in SLO County are homeless at some point in time over the course of a year and approximately 89-percent of the population is unsheltered. Over 20-percent of the homeless population lives in the North County and lack shelter from the rain and the freezing temperatures of December through April.
Lisa Fraser, Executive Director of The Link, said, “this center will be able to shelter individuals most in need in our community and provide them refuge from inclement weather conditions. It was wonderful of Reverend Edwin Limpiado of Saint William’s Parish to volunteer the parish facilities when he heard of the need. We wish to thank Orlando Gallegos, The Link board member Jim Patterson, President of ECHO Board of Directors Laurel Weir, the Department of Social Services, Deacon Rick Minton of Saint William’s, Tim Harness the volunteer director of the warming center and the North County Homeless Services Coalition in making this possible.”