OLYMPIA – The National Weather Service has issued a forecast for snow and below freezing weather in the Puget Sound region beginning Saturday, December 25, and lasting through Saturday, January 1, 2022. In response, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is issuing a "Hazardous Weather" advisory to increase shelter-in-place efforts and offer a day-time warming center.
A warming center will be available for those needing to get out of the cold at 201 N Capitol Way in Olympia on Saturday, December 25, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 26, through Friday, December 31, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pets under the control of their owner are allowed in the warming center.
During this hazardous weather activation period, shelter options are available at the Union Gospel Mission (413 Franklin St NE in Olympia) for single men and women. Family Support Center's Pear Blossom Place (837 7th Ave. SE in Olympia) is available for families with children needing shelter, and Community Youth Services (520 Pear Street SE in Olympia) is available for youth ages 18-24.
Volunteers - as well as donations of socks, long johns, underwear, tarps, ponchos, hand warmers, sleeping bags, tents, gloves/mittens, hats, warm clothing, blankets, pillows, coffee, creamer, cup of soups, and other snacks - are needed. Donations will be accepted at:
- 110 11th Ave SE in Olympia on Wednesday December 22, and Thursday, December 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 201 Capitol Way N in Olympia on Saturday, December 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- 201 Capitol Way N in Olympia on Sunday, December 26, through Tuesday, December 28, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For volunteer opportunities, please visit: https://www.iwshelter.org/code-blue.html.
During a hazardous weather response, organizations, including Hazardous Weather Task Force (HWTF) members, take special measures to keep people who are homeless safe by expanding shelter services to accommodate the increased need. In addition, the HWTF is empowered to distribute shelter-in-place supplies, such as blankets and water, to those in the homeless community who are unable to leave their location.
County, city, and local advocacy and non-profit organizations have been working together as the HWTF to address harsh weather conditions and its effects on vulnerable unsheltered populations. The HWTF developed the hazardous weather response model to be enacted during extremely cold or hazardous weather conditions.
For more information about homelessness in Thurston County, visit: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/bocc/Pages/homelessness.aspx.