November 23, 2010 in Idaho

Cold opens warming centers

Shelter available in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene
Staff Reports
Colin Mulvany photo

John Jones beds down for the night Monday at the House of Charity. “It is impossible to keep warm out there,” said Jones, who says he just recently became homeless.
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The cities of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene on Monday activated warming centers in anticipation of extreme cold this week.

Shelters in Spokane are authorized to open their doors to the homeless beyond the facilities’ bed capacity when temperatures are forecast to drop below 15 degrees and when the shelters were full during the previous 24 hours.

Starting on Monday, the House of Charity, 32 W. Pacific Ave., was serving as a warming center for single men 18 and older.

Hope House, 111 W. Third Ave., opened its doors to single women 18 and older, and the Salvation Army, 222 E. Indiana Ave., was accommodating couples and families with children.

The shelters were to remain open until 7 a.m., according to a statement from the city Human Services Department.

Crosswalk, 525 W. Second Ave., which shelters youths, had beds available Sunday evening.

In Coeur d’Alene, the St. Vincent de Paul warming center at 117 E. Walnut Ave. was to remain open through Thanksgiving. Doors open at 7 p.m., and those who go there will have access to warm food, clothing, bathing facilities, sleeping bags and blankets.

Also in Coeur d’Alene, the Fresh Start Warming Center at 1524 E. Sherman Ave. will open at 9 p.m. It is a joint venture between Fresh Start and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and is made possible by hundreds of donors and volunteers. Fresh Start has a capacity of 64 overnight guests. The overflow Warming Center at St. Luke’s has a capacity of 40 overnight guests.

Fresh Start is asking for more donations, including food, warm clothing, tents, tarps and sleeping bags, shampoo, laundry soap, towels and other supplies. “We also need additional volunteers to help keep the center open,” according to a news release.

Fresh Start will serve a full turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For more information about Fresh Start, contact Howard Martinson at (208) 661-1524.

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