Public freeze shelter
is at Fairgrounds because of virus
(Everett also has a freeze shelter at the Carnegie building, Wall Street and Oakes)
SNOHOMISH COUNTY — As winter temperatures plummet, and COVID-19 cases continue to rise, cold weather shelters within the county are faced with new problems. The biggest one is space.
This winter has been officially dubbed a La Nina year, meaning a wetter and colder winter than normal. A colder winter, a spiking pandemic and presumably more in need of cold shelters means lack of space is not an ideal situation.
Cold weather shelters open for the public when below-freezing temperatures are expected overnight.
Because of COVID-19, many smaller cold shelters in the county, like those based in churches, are not operating this year due to social distancing requirements.
Luckily the Sky Valley Cold Weather Shelter was able to find a building believed to be big enough: the 4-H building at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. The building is set up to house up to 50 people while remaining socially distant.
While smaller cold shelters will not be able to operate, there will be shuttles to the Fairgrounds shelter from three different pick-up locations: From the Snohomish Evangelical Free Church
(210 Ave. B), from New Hope Fellowship in Monroe (1012 W Main St.) — where Monroe’s cold shelter operated last year — and from the Sultan Library bus stop. The shuttles begin operating around 7:30 p.m. in the evening before the shelter doors close at 9:30 p.m.
People will be screened for COVID-19 before getting access to the shelter or to get on a shuttle.
Fortunately, there is an isolation and quarantine site at the Fairgrounds with an ambulance standing by. According to Volunteers of America’s director of community resource centers, Lynsey Gagnon, if a person is symptomatic for the virus, the ambulance will be called and they will be taken to the isolation site.
“We have a working partnership with them to make sure that we screen out anyone that’s symptomatic, but still provide them shelter,” Gagnon said.
The Sky Valley shelter will open its doors at 8:30 p.m. and will be locked from 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. The address is 14405 179th Ave. SE, Monroe.
The easiest way to see if the shelter is open for the night is to check the Facebook page called Snohomish Cold Weather Shelter.
The cold weather shelter in Everett is at the Carnegie Building at Oakes and Wall Street.
For additional information regarding other cold shelters in the county visit www.snohd.org/cold
You can quickly see if the shelter is open:
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