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Indybay Feature

Help us Open A Warming Center in Santa Cruz

Tuesday, January 07, 2014
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Event Type:
Brent Adams
Location Details:
535 Spring St. Santa Cruz.
Please park on the street.

We are a group of concerned citizens calling ourselves Residents for Coldest Nights Warming Centers (The Warming Group), are calling on the Homeless Services Center, the City and County of Santa Cruz, churches, and other groups with large indoor spaces or other resources to come together to continue a conversation about how to create, maintain, and publicize warming centers where homeless people can get out of the elements when temperatures plummet to deadly lows, or when the weather is otherwise extreme.

We have been meeting since the deadly cold snap in early December and have begun this project in earnest. We've drawn up a list of possible Center locations and have begun to contact them. We need your help in this endeavor.

The most recent cold snap brought sad news of several homeless individuals in San Jose freezing to death. Many in Santa Cruz wondered if some of our homeless would die from lack of shelter on our coldest nights.

A recent study by Applied Survey Research found that among the more than 3,500 homeless individuals in Santa Cruz County, 82% of homeless residents in Santa Cruz County, and 69% in the City of Santa Cruz remain unsheltered. On nights when the temperature plummets to extreme lows, such a lack of shelter can be deadly.

The most recent cold spell galvanized numerous blanket and coat drives, and the Homeless Services Center and various churches opened all their available spaces to take in as many people as possible. However, The Warming Group remains concerned that Santa Cruz City and County lack sufficient (and sufficiently well-known and accessible) warm spaces available to shelter the homeless, especially on nights when the emergency shelter at the Armory is unavailable due to the National Guard schedule.

We invite everyone to participate. We need to take the initiative to help ensure greater safety from potentially life-threatening circumstances during the cold winter months. It is our hope that those with usable indoor spaces will move forward as quickly as possible to provide ad-hoc warming centers that can be put in place before the next cold spell. Longer term, we see the need for a more comprehensively organized program that can be put in place to meet the needs of those who might otherwise freeze to death.”

A warming center is simply a space operated with the mission of preventing loss of life due to the elements. It is a physical location that provides heat and plumbing on the coldest nights.

We believe that this effort draws upon a broad humanitarian concern that unites our community.
Added to the calendar on Sat, Jan 4, 2014 12:12AM
by Brent Adams
by Brent Adams
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