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Training for extreme cold weather shelters is on Tuesday December 10 at 4:00pm at the First United Methodist Church at 21 Buell St, Burlington, VT 05401. Please enter through door at ground level on left side facing church.
During the extreme cold weather last winter “working with other MRC volunteers to staff a temporary shelter was an easy and rewarding way to make things a little better for my neighbors and maybe save a life.” -Dr. Benjamin Littenberg MRC Volunteer.
State of Vermont Agency of Humans Services (AHS) is continuing their contingency shelter plan from last year. Currently approximately 500 emergency shelter beds and 250 transitional beds for Vermonters experiencing homeless are provided by AHS. When these local programs are full, the Department augments this grant-funded capacity with motel vouchers. During colder weather, AHS relaxes some eligibility criteria for motel beds through a “cold weather exception.” When extremely cold winter weather coincides with tourism events, Vermont’s largest communities could potentially run out of both shelter, transitional and motel beds, precipitating the need for additional shelter capacity, even in the absence of a declared disaster. Therefore, requiring additional shelter(s) be set up in the higher population areas of Burlington and Rutland.
The contingency shelters do not remove or replace exist programs. The plan may not be activated all winter or most likely just during high tourist travel weekends when motels space is limited.
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity will set-up and be the shelter manager for a 25 bed shelter at First United Methodist Church at 21 Buell St, Burlington, VT 05401.
The shelter will be supported by MRC volunteers and AmeriCorps volunteers. Volunteers will have the opportunity to sign-up for one or more shifts; notified via MRC call-down as weather forecasts day(s) before. The shifts will be approximately 1)Check-in Shift: 5pm to 11:30pm, 2)Night Shift: 11:00pm to 5:30am, 3) Check Out: 5:00am to 8:00am. More volunteers are needed during check-in and check-out. Volunteers duties will be to pass out food, check folks in & out, alert shelter manager to an issues, and assist with breakdown of shelter.
Please join us December 10th 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at the church, if you are interested in supporting the shelter for orientation to the facility and Q & A situation covering working with vulnerable populations. If you took this training previously last winter, MRC would prefer you to re-take, so you are refreshed on duties and expectations for serving at shelter.
Hope to see you on December 10th!