OLYMPIA – The National Weather Service has issued a wind and winter weather advisory followed by bitter cold weather patterns in the Puget Sound area during the next five days. Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is issuing a “Code Blue” advisory to increase shelter capacity beginning today, Saturday, February 17, 2018 and extending through Wednesday, February 21, 2018 in response to this predicted weather pattern.
County, city, local advocacy, and non-profit organizations have been working together as the Hazardous Weather Task Force (HWTF) for the past six months to develop a plan to address harsh weather conditions and the effects on vulnerable unsheltered populations. The HWTF developed the “code blue” model to be enacted during extremely cold or hazardous weather conditions. During a “code blue”, organizations, including HWTF members, take special measures to keep people who are homeless safe by expanding shelter services to accommodate the increased need. The HWTF will assess the model used during this event to enhance the response in future events.
“This hazardous weather puts those in our community who do not have adequate shelter or heat sources at serious risk of hypothermia or even death, said Public Health Director Schelli Slaughter. “Activating ‘cold blue’ will allow for additional emergency shelter capacity to keep our most vulnerable populations safe, dry, and warm. ”
During this code blue activation period, expanded shelter options are available at Salvation Army and Union Gospel Mission for single men and women. In addition, First Christian Church in partnership with Interfaith Works will offer extra shelter capacity Saturday night. Volunteers and donations of blankets, coffee, creamer, cup of soups, and other snacks are needed. Items can be dropped off at First Christian Church upstairs after 6:00 p.m. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering. Family Support Center’s Pear Blossom Place is available for families with children needing shelter and Community Youth Services is available for youth ages 18-24.
For more information call Thurston County’s Coordinated Entry Shelter and Housing Hotline at 1-844-628-7343.