Lifehouse Church and the City of Eureka just announced that they’ll be opening a new warming shelter for homeless citizens in times of extreme weather.
Cmdr. Lenny La France of the Eureka Police Department tells the Outpost that this new shelter — to be opened at the church’s campus on Hubbard Lane in Myrtletown — will have a little bit lower of a barrier to entry than existing facilities. There will be accommodations available to people with pets.
La France said that the program will include transportation to and from the facility, and will be operating in conjunction with programs run by the city and existing non-profits. If people are looking to shelter there in times of extreme weather, the best thing to do, La France said, would be to show up at the Free Meal facility in Old Town on the day, to connect with staff at the Betty Chinn Center, or else to call the Eureka Police main line at (707) 441-4060.
The program won’t interfere with the kids’ sports programs that currently take place at the church, La France said.
The push for a new Eureka shelter for times of extreme weather came in the wake of a couple of deaths in the homeless community in recent months, including that of 57-year-old Jestine Green.
Press release from the City of Eureka:
The City of Eureka in collaboration with the Eureka faith-based community will be opening a low barrier, Extreme Weather Overnight Warming Center at Lifehouse Church to ensure those most vulnerable in our community have a warm place to be during inclement weather. Inclement weather can include times of high winds, significant rain, and freezing temperatures. UPLIFT Eureka, Crisis Alternative Response of Eureka (CARE), Eureka Police Department Community Safety Engagement Team (CSET), along with other community partners, will be conducting outreach within the community to directly connect individuals to the warming center. When open, the warming center will operate between 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., be staffed by members of the faith-based community, and supported by UPLIFT Eureka, CARE, and EPD CSET personnel.
According to Eureka City Manager Miles Slattery:
I want to thank Lifehouse Church for their tremendous compassion and generous offer of support for our community. Once solicited by Chief Jarvis for a request of assistance, it was only a matter of hours before receiving a response. I’d like to not only thank the Lifehouse Church, but all of our faithbased community as we have received offers of assistance from other churches and look forward to working with them to continue supporting those most vulnerable within our community.
Lifehouse Church Senior Pastor Willy Bowles said:
Lifehouse Church is excited to be partnering with the City of Eureka in providing an extreme weather overnight warming center. We have already had many volunteers sign up to help, and we know many more will help us in this endeavor. Thank you to Eureka Police Chief Jarvis and Commander La France for all their hard work. Also, thank you to Pastor Andy Broese Van Groenou of Harvest Church in Eureka. Your kindness and care for the community are always an inspiration. Lastly, thank you to the City of Eureka for all of their hard work as well. We have a GREAT community here in Humboldt. When asked if we would consider being a warming center, my answer was an immediate “yes.” I had questions about logistics, volunteers, finances, and I knew I had a church board that needed to approve this before it could go forward. However, I said “yes” anyway. Part of the reason I could say “yes” was because of the men and women on our board. I know their hearts, and I know their love for people and our community. When I approached them with this request, like me, they gave an immediate “yes.” Opening up our building to be a safe place for men, women, and children to come in times of severe weather is a no-brainer. Nobody should ever freeze to death in Humboldt County. That is simply not acceptable. We are excited to be able to do something practical and hands-on. Opening our doors for people to sleep in a safe, warm environment will make a difference in people’s lives. If this isn’t the work of Jesus, then I don’t know anything that is.