Ellensburg Cold Weather Shelter reopens Nov. 9

Nidia Torres

Nidia Torres, Reporter

The Ellensburg Cold Weather Shelter is an organization that aims to help community members during the cold winter season. 

Coordinators Pope Don Green and Tiffany Metger state the shelter’s main goal is, “To provide a warm and safe place to stay overnight for those experiencing homelessness during the coldest winter months.”

Coordinators Pope Don Green and Tiffany Metzger held recent training sessions for volunteers to learn to implement COVID-19 regulations. 

Kristin Ashley has been a volunteer at the cold weather shelter for one year.

“I did the overnight shift. My initial reaction, I was a little bit nervous,” Ashley said. “I didn’t know what to expect.”

Ashley enjoys volunteering because she notices the difference it makes in people’s lives.

“Being part of a community is very much a part of what it means to being human and giving back to a community is very fulfilling,” Ashley said.

FISH Food Bank and Hope Source contributed to the Cold Weather Shelter by providing meals and funds to focus the shelters on one location: The Grace Episcopal Church.

The Cold Weather Shelters at the Grace Episcopal Church will officially be open on November 9 and go through mid-March. 

“That’s kind of open-ended depending on what the weather does this year,” Green said. “If we have a lot of snow all over the ground, we’re probably going to keep it open a little bit longer. If it’s still sub-freezing temperatures down to the mid-twenties or low twenties, we’ll still keep it open.”

Green said the amount of people that show up depends on how cold the nights get and the amount of snow there will be.

“We may have as many as twelve people on a night, but typically it’s going to be in the nine to twelve range on most nights,” Green said.

Metzger states that although they’ve had to change many things to adapt to the pandemic, they still remain positive and open to help their community. 

“One thing that we do get to have is conversations with folks that we won’t get to see in the everyday because we go to our jobs, to our schools, and we’re not out wherever our neighbors who are homeless are, so we catch up, learn [their] stories,” Metzger said.

With the winter season almost here, the cold weather shelter is a place for homeless people to use as a resource anytime. 

“I’m very inspired by the people that use our cold weather shelters, and I think they are amazing neighbors,” Ashley said.

If you’d like to volunteer, contact the Cold Weather Shelter on Facebook.