Severe Weather Shelter

How our Community Bands Together

Brooke DeGroat, Director of Program Services

As I write this post today, the county’s Severe Weather Network has gone into effect. The Action Center has been a part of this vital community effort for several years (you may have seen the recent article in the Denver Post). Here’s how it works and what I appreciate about how it’s been constructed.

The Network goes into effect when the forecast is below 32 degrees and wet, or below 20 degrees and dry. Four churches rotate weeks on call, with 30+ volunteers each. Homeless individuals and couples can register with the Network; then when severe weather is forecast, call the morning hotline to reserve a bed. Clients are picked up in the evening by that week’s assigned church at either the Action Center or Family Tree. When they arrive, everyone receives a warm welcome, a hot meal, a floor mat and a blanket. It’s not fancy, but without a doubt, this program is literally saving lives.  

Beyond the obvious benefits, this program has other great aspects, like it is open to both men and women simultaneously. When you’re struggling just to stay alive, having to split up from your loved one to different shelters is tough, especially without your own transportation. However, by keeping these Severe Weather Network shelters small, 25-35 beds, we can provide a secure, manageable environment that can accommodate couples who are traveling this hard road together.  

I also deeply appreciate the true community spirit of the program that makes it sustainable. The Network is not funded by one big grant or one concerned donor. It’s not staffed by one agency that would have to raise significant overhead for one building. Instead, this program was born of a true community discussion, it utilizes facilities that are already in place, and it is fueled by the hard work and sacrifice of hundreds of volunteers throughout the winter. It has been a privilege to witness this beautiful thing coming together.

The Severe Weather Network is just one piece of the county’s overall Plan to End Homelessness. If you’d like more information on what you can do to help the Severe Weather Network specifically, I invite you to contact me at brooked@theactioncenterco.org. The Network would love to enlist the help of four more churches to double the capacity next winter. To learn more about the Action Center’s other initiatives to help the homeless, like our 45-day Shelter Program, or our Self-Sufficiency Pathways Program visit our website or please come on a tour

2 Responses

02.06.14

Looking for a shelter in Arvada or north Denver (near 52nd and Sheridan) for a disabled, single, middle-aged man who it neither an addict nor a Vet.

02.06.14

Hi Teresa,
If you call the main line of the Action Center, 303-237-7704, they will be able to provide you with resources to find housing options in Arvada or north Denver.
Thanks!

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