Helping the Homeless: snow storms, amazing community support make Snoqualmie Valley Shelter season one to remember

Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services recently wrapped up its
7th winter shelter season, and with the massive snow storm
in February, Executive Director Jennifer Kirk said it was a season to remember.

As soon as the shelter heard about the coming snow, employees and volunteers got to work finding locations, staff, food, and funding to run the overnight shelter as a 24/7 warming shelter.

According to Kirk, the success of the season wouldn’t have been possible without community contributions. She extended a big heartfelt thank you to all those who contributed this winter, including: the shelter hosting locations at the Sallal Grange and Snoqualmie American Legion Post, the cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend, Snoqualmie Police & Fire, Eastside Fire & Rescue and King County Search & Rescue.

Others to Thank: During the February storms there were people who drove in treacherous weather conditions or walked through feet of snow to bring the shelter food and donations. Snoqualmie Valley Transit even made a special trip out to take shelter patrons to the YMCA for showers. Shelter staff stayed in hotels and with host homes to ensure they could return for their next shift – and volunteers spent all day cleaning.

A local vet and the Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank brought in supplies and services for furry friends staying at the shelter. Numerous people cleared mountains of snow from shelter entrances and there was even a man who generously did a big garbage run when the snow finally melted.

Kirk said many neighbors throughout the Snoqualmie Valley also provided
monetary donations that allowed them to have their doors open 24 hours a day for nearly three weeks straight, even allowing the shelter to extend services to local motel guests after a gas leak shut down the motel and to an electrical contractor whose employees couldn’t make it home.

Kirk said, “Faced with an historic storm and record-breaking low
temperatures, the Snoqualmie Valley stepped up to look out for
their most vulnerable neighbors, in a time when it certainly
would’ve been easier to just stay home.”

This year the Snoqualmie Valley Shelter served 112 people and provided 155 nights of shelter, with an average of 16 people staying per night.

15% of those served were under the age of 18. 51% reported a disability. 32% were chronically homeless. 14% were veterans. 75% of those served came from a place described as “not meant for habitation,” but when the shelter’s 2018-19 season finished, 17% of participants exited into permanent housing.

Even though the winter shelter is now closed, the Resource Center remains open year round, located at the downtown Snoqualmie American Legion Post, 38625 SE River Street. It’s open every Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8am-2:30pm.

The Resource Center provides a place where people can wash clothes, take showers, pick up lightly-used clothing, cook a meal, have access to much-needed toiletries, and access navigation, phone, computer and internet services. They also hold a community meal every Tuesday evening from 4:30-6:30pm, which provides an opportunity to stay connected with the
community.

For more information or for those interested in providing a
meal, visit: www.svshelterservices.org

KC SAR brought out a special snow vehicle during the February storm to the help shelter patrons

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