Big Changes Ahead – 2013-2014

HRWS New LogoYour comments on our end-of-season survey resulted in a busy summer for the HRWS organizing committee. We’ve listened and made several significant changes for the coming season:

We are pleased to announce that we have created a new position–Shelter Host–and hired dedicated volunteer, Alan Wiebe to fill this important post. Alan will be at the shelter for the first shift, five nights a week, Thursday through Monday nights. Along with welcoming guests to the shelter, Alan will be working to make sure that our shelter guidelines are consistently implemented from night to night and shelter location to shelter location. This has always been a challenge for us and should create a new, more comfortable environment for both shelter guests and volunteers.

Also new this season is the implementation of length of stay limits. Under our new policy, guests may stay for up to 30 days at the shelter. After that time, our committee will review their situation. If they are working, or actively working with one of our partner agencies to address their current living crisis, we will extend their stay at the shelter another 30 days. Guests that have been with us past the 30-day limit, but not allowed to stay beyond that time, will be allowed to stay with us on nights that are forecast to drop below 32 degrees.

We will be much stricter about enforcing our policy regarding drunkenness. Having a Shelter Host will help us be more consistent from night to night. While we don’t want anyone to freeze to death, we also need to make sure the shelter is safe for all our guests, including children.

We will work with our host sites to ensure that guests are not lingering on the site either before or after shelter hours of operation. This will be even more critical this year for a couple of our host facilities.

We are opening the shelter two weeks early this season (November 17th) and will also close the shelter two weeks earlier in March (March 16th).

Shift hours are changing! In order to make both the late-night shift and the morning shift easier for our volunteers, we’ve changed the shifts as follows:

    • Check in shift: 5:45pm-10:15pm
    • Overnight shift: 10:15pm-5:15am
    • Morning shift: 5:15am-7:30am

Since only one volunteer needs to be awake during the overnight shift, one volunteer will be able to sleep. Yes, this does make for a long shift, but is should be easier to get some rest during the night and not have to get up at 3am anymore! The morning shift is much shorter, allowing those who need to get off to work to simply make an early morning of it (again, no more 3am wake-up!). On most ocassions, volunteers should be able to clean up and be out the door by 7:15am.

This year we will be offering special conflict de-escalation training** from real professionals! The Mid-Coloumbia Center for Living will be sending someone to give us tools for better dealing with those struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, and to recognize the difference.

Volunteer training will take place the third week of October:

  • Monday, October 21, 6:30pm-8:30pm at Mid Columbia Center for Living (1610 Woods Court, Hood River, OR (off Pacific Ave. near Pacific NW Federal Credit Union on the heights)
  • Wedenesday, October 23, 6:30pm-8:30pm at Immanuel Lutheran Church (9th and State Streets)
  • Saturday, October 26th, 9:30am-11:30am at Riverside Community Church (4th and State Streets)

** The second hour of each session will be for the new conflict de-escalation training. We encourage ALL volunteers to attend this part of the training. If you went through training last season, you don’t need to attend training this season, but we would strongly recommend you attend the second part of the training which will cover conflict de-escalation. If you went through training two season ago or more, please plan on attending one of our sessions this year – it’s being completely reworked and will be a valuable experience.

Host sites for the coming season: We’re still working to secure host sites for the season… but we’re close!

We welcome back Riverside Community Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, and Hood River Nazarene churches this season. We’re also excited to partner with Mid Columbia Center for Living who will host the warming shelter for two weeks this year!

In order to keep our records up to date, we do need each of our volunteers to send us information about your current background check status and any changes to your contact information. Most people now have background checks through their employers, churches, or volunteer organization. If this describes you, please email us with where your background check was done and a contact number so we can verify. If HRWS did your check last year, you’re good to go for the coming year. If it’s been more than two years please let us know so we can run and new check and update our records.

The simplest way to update your information is to download the “Volunteer Application” from the sidebar to the right. Fill it out and mail to: Hood River Warming Shelter, P.O. Box 656, Hood River, OR 97031