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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 19, 2022
Contact:
Keylee Marineau, Homeless and Affordable Housing Coordinator, (360) 490-5910, or email: keylee.marineau@co.thurston.wa.us 

Thurston County Activates Hazardous Weather Response
The advisory calls for expanded outreach and daytime warming center

OLYMPIA – The National Weather Service has issued a forecast for below freezing nighttime weather patterns in the Puget Sound beginning December 19 until December 23, 2022. In response, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is issuing a “Hazardous Weather” advisory to increase shelter-in-place efforts and offer extended nightly shelter beds starting on Monday, December 19, 2022. As staffing allows, this may be extended through Friday morning, December 23, 2022 nightly from 8pm through 8am. 

Extended overnight shelter beds will be provided for single adults over the age of 18 at First Christian Church located at 701 Franklin St SE, Olympia, WA 98501, starting on Monday night. Shelter-in-place survival gear distribution in unsheltered communities began during the week of December 12, 2022 and will continue throughout this week.

County, city, and local advocacy and non-profit organizations have been working together as the Hazardous Weather Task Force (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. 

During a hazardous weather response, organizations, including 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. 

During this hazardous weather activation period, shelter options are available at the Union Gospel Mission, 413 Franklin St NE, Olympia for single men and women. St. Michael’s Parish for single men through Sidewalk. Family Support Center’s Pear Blossom Place, 837 7th Ave. SE, Olympia, is available for families with children needing shelter and Community Youth Services, 520 Pear Street SE, Olympia, is available for youth ages 18-24.  

Donations of blankets, twin/single bed sheets, ramen, non-perishable snacks, coffee, creamer, hot tea, hot chocolate, disposable cups and utensils, socks, long johns, underwear, tarps, ponchos, hand warmers, sleeping bags, tents, gloves/mittens, hats, warm clothing are needed. Donations will be accepted at United Churches of Olympia at 110 11th Ave SE, Olympia Monday, December 19, through Friday, December 23, from 10am – 4pm. Donations will be accepted in the back-parking lot of the church building. 

Volunteers for the shelter will need to have gone through an official Hazardous Weather Shelter Volunteer Training through Interfaith Works. A Hazardous Weather Volunteer Training will be offered online on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 from 6pm-9pm. Register for the training at https://www.iwshelter.org/volunteer

For more information on volunteer opportunities please contact phoebe.crasher@iwshelter.org, or  Keylee Marineau at 360-490-5910 or Keylee.marineau@co.thurston.wa.us. Sign up for volunteer shifts at https://www.iwshelter.org/code-blue.html.

For more information about homelessness in Thurston County, visit: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/bocc/Pages/homelessness.aspx.

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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3