By Alexander Rea
The City of Arvada will be providing a building for the Severe Weather Shelter Network to use during its shelter season.
On declared severe weather nights, the network offers shelter to single men, single women, and couples without children who live on streets across Denver. The network has plans to utilize the building as a “warming site.”
The warming site’s purpose is to provide a meeting place to verify registered guests, check them for intoxicants, and eventually wait for transportation to a participating host church.
“Once a guest arrives, they will be checked off the registration list,” said Severe Weather Shelter Network’s Executive Director, Lynn Ann Huizingh.
In order to be permitted access to the site, a guest must register for the season, in person, at one of the network’s registration sites. “Volunteers would arrive at 5:30 and get everything ready, coffee and such. Guests would arrive at 6, and would be asked to relax and not to worry before the vehicles show up at 7,” added Huizingh.
Guests would be transported to one of the three Arvada host churches, where they are given a roof over their head and a warm meal for the night.
The building that will serve as the warming site is located off of Ralston Road and Balsam Place in Arvada.
The placement of the site is valuable, as it not only stands close to the host churches, but it must be within fair walking distance from where possible guests are camping. It is also close enough to the Wheat Ridge-Arvada border that it also remains accessible for people at the edge of Wheat Ridge.
“We have been working with Arvada since the end of July,” said Huizingh. The city approached the network with the building, to contribute to the construction of a sheltering network in Arvada.
The network’s Arvada branch is in its third year of development, but still needs more volunteers to kick off the operation.
“We really need volunteers on all facets,” Huizingh said. “We need drivers, overnight hosts for all churches, and warming site volunteers.”
The network was hoping to open its Arvada wing earlier, but due to lack of volunteers at the moment, they are shooting for a early 2018 opening.
For more information, including volunteering, visit www.swshelternetwork.com.