Interfaith Works continues our 27-year history of sheltering homeless adults in Olympia, with improved program design to better serve the most vulnerable adults living on our streets.
To advance the social inclusion and empowerment of the homeless through innovative practices of sheltering, mental health and emergency basic needs coordination.
Meg Martin, MSW, MHP
Phone: (360) 545-3176
See more information about the Emergency Overnight Shelter here:
Open/download the above infographic in PDF format here or by clicking on the image.
Read the Shelter Fact Sheet – March 2016. (PDF format)
Support the IW Shelter. See: Gift Ideas for Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter – An Amazon Wish List.
Interfaith Works Winter Warming Center
Managed by IW shelter support staff, the Warming Center offers a welcoming, safe and managed environment with basic respite from the elements, where many kinds of street-dependent persons can warm up, socialize, catch some undisturbed sleep, and connect with a network of services.
History of the Warming Center
Our First Year: Winter 2015-16 In the winter of 2015-16 Interfaith Works agreed to a partnership with three faith communities to open a rotating winter warming center. Together with The United Churches of Olympia, First Christian Church and the Temple Beth Hatfiloh we were able to open 7 days a week between the hours of 7am-1pm.
Over the course of that winter we saw an average of 130 people per day! Our highest occupancy day was 179 people coming through in a 6 hour period.
This effort was hugely important because we were able to collect data about the street population that hasn’t been gathered before. We made thousands of contacts with people throughout the season, worked with SeaMar, Behavioral Health Resources, SideWalk and the PATH program to provide medical, mental health and housing support to people at the warming center. This effort showed in real time the now documented need and scope of need for daytime services in our city.
Winter 2016-17 – In response to urgent health and safety priorities during the winter season, Interfaith Works again operated a daytime Winter Warming Center to provide relief for vulnerable street dependent people and others.
The Warming Center opened in early November 2016, rotating between two church sites five days per week. Then on December 19, the Warming Center was open 7 days per week at a single downtown Olympia location: from 7am to 5:30pm daily. The program operated through March 31, 2017. Funding for this public resource comes from a partnership among local government: Thurston County, and the cities of Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater, along with private contributors.
At least two Interfaith Works Emergency Shelter staff were on site daily plus volunteer support. Staff are trained in de-escalation and emergency intervention skills, and have extensive site management experience providing nightly shelter at our Emergency Overnight Shelter and last winter’s Warming Center program.
Staff were responsible for maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all guests at the Warming Center, and managing the immediate outdoor space to minimize impact on adjacent neighbors, and working together with nearby property owners to mitigate any facilities issues. Guests were expected to sign Guest Agreement and Good Neighbor policies along the lines of the current IW Shelter program.
Services at the Warming Center
Community support services were available on site at the Warming Center, coordinated to provide outreach to engage and enroll people in services. This included (but was not limited to) SeaMar Community Health Care Management Team, PATH program through the Capital Recovery Center, Behavioral Health Resources outreach and enrollment, psychiatric ARNP and Intensive Case Manager through Providence Health Services, Olympia Free Clinic providing acute medical care and first aid relief and SideWalk, providing access to rapid rehousing, coordinated entry and shelter diversion programs.