Press Release:

The McKinleyville Extreme Weather Shelter Planning Team has announced that they are prepared to provide overnight shelter during extreme weather for the 2013-2014 winter season. 

“McKinleyville continues to see homeless individuals who face the risk of dying in Humboldt’s extreme winter weather without shelter,” noted McKinleyville Family Resource Center Director Hillarie Beyer. “The Family Resource Center has partnered with local churches, businesses and others to make sure these community members have a place to sleep when their lives are threatened by driving rains and freezing temperatures.” 

The shelter will open when NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicts overnight temperatures of 34 degrees or less or 36 degrees or less when rains are expected. Shelter will also be offered if wind speeds in excess of 30 mph or rains of more than 1 inch overnight are predicted. 

Shelter sign-ups will be conducted at the Family Resource Center on Hiller Road. Registered guests will receive a simple meal and be transported to rotating church locations for overnight accommodations. Guests will be brought back to the Family Resource Center in the morning. Meals and transportation are being provided by the Blue Lake Casino/Rancheria. The shelter will serve both men and women and parents with minor children will be provided with another shelter option. 

According to Beyer, previous Humboldt County  point-in-time or single day homeless counts have indicated that over 60 percent of  those surveyed  became homeless in Humboldt County and about 25 percent  have been homeless for three years or more. Approximately fifty percent have mental health issues and almost half are hindered by physical disabilities. “Unfortunately many assume that those living without shelter are suffering from their own bad choices but it is often more complicated than that,” Beyer observed. “Highly functional people with marketable skills and strong family support don’t often become homeless. People without those benefits are more vulnerable and sometimes do.  We felt we needed to do what we could to ensure people don’t die of exposure in McKinleyville simply because they cannot secure housing.” 

The shelter is currently seeking monetary donations to help cover overnight staffing costs and other expenses. For more information or to donate, please contact the McKinleyville Family Resource Center, PO Box 2668, McKinleyville, CA 95519 or call (707) 840-0905