The Hermiston Warming Station is getting a new home this winter.
The station is set to open Nov. 1 in The ARC of Umatilla County’s building at 215 W. Orchard Ave.
Trish Rossell said the move will allow the station to serve about 25 people at a time, compared to the 14 sleeping spaces available for homeless families and individuals at the current Main Street location.
“We’ve been concerned all summer because word has gotten around and utilization has gone way up,” she said.
It has been nice having a permanent location at Main Street, she said, and the landlord and neighbors have been great to work with. But even though the fire marshal said the space was allowed to hold up to 25 people, Rossell said once cots were laid out in the long, skinny space the nonprofit could really only let 14 people sleep there at a time.
The new space offered by The ARC during nighttime hours should make sure volunteers don’t have to turn anyone away during freezing weather.
“We’ve never had 25 people show up on the same night,” she said.
The Warming Station is usually open only on nights where the temperatures dip below freezing, but Rossell said this year if there are enough volunteers the station will also open in inclement weather even if the temperature is not quite cold enough to turn rain into snow.
She said she has found that the best way to let people know if the station will be open is by posting something to the Hermiston Warming Station Facebook page. The page will also be where volunteers can find details about the nonprofit’s trainings that will take place in October.
This summer for the first time the Warming Station board also ran a cooling station at the Main Street location, offering shelter from the heat on weekend afternoons. Rossell said the station wasn’t as busy as expected, probably because it is easier for people to find somewhere air conditioned to spend their afternoons than for people to find somewhere heated to sleep during the winter.
If anyone wants to help pack up boxes for the move to The ARC building, Rossell said she will be at 224 E. Main St. at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
As for donations, Rossell said the nonprofit will set up a regular day and time, likely on Saturdays, for people to drop things off when clients aren’t in the station in order to protect their privacy.
Volunteers won’t have access to a full kitchen, but they will have a microwave, so Rossell said microwavable cups of soup are welcome, as well as bottled water, soft granola bars, cups of applesauce and other healthy, portable snacks. Clients are also grateful for packages of clean, new socks she said.
The biggest need, however, is always for volunteers willing to work a shift overnight at the temporary shelter.
People interested in volunteering can call 541-571-2075. People interested in donating can call 541-720-4295 or mail a check to P.O. Box 443, Hermiston, OR 97838.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.