Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed Winter Warming Centers:
What’s a Winter Warming Center? It’s a church that opens its facilities for the homeless overnight during the cold winter months. In West Sacramento the network of WWCs is coordinated and staffed by the Mercy Coalition.
How many homeless will be staying at the WWCs? A maximum of 20 adults can be housed overnight at the Warming Centers. Families with children will be immediately supplied with hotel vouchers and diverted into other long-term programming.
Will the homeless be hanging around outside the churches and their neighborhoods? No. Participation in the WWC program requires that a homeless guest present themselves each night at a designated off-site intake location, and be returned to that same location the next morning. No intake will be allowed at the church facilities themselves. Any homeless guest who refuses to be taken back to the intake site in the morning will make themselves ineligible for future participation in the programming.
Will pets be allowed at the WWCs? No. Unfortunately, our facilities do not have the capacity to handle guests’ pets at this time.
Will someone be monitoring the homeless guests during the night? Yes. Each night, 1-2 paid Mercy Coalition staffers will be awake and available to monitor and assist guests as needed. Those staffers may be supplemented by trained volunteers on any given night.
Will the sleeping arrangements be coed? Yes. Similar programs have discovered that more problems are created, rather than solved, by separating couples and family groups of different genders. All-night staff monitoring will ensure that the safety and appropriate behavior of all guests is maintained.
What will be the vetting process for homeless guests? In collaboration with the city’s homeless coordinator, WWC staff will keep data on all guests regarding their mental and physical health, behavior history, and special needs. Placement preference each night will be given to those in case management with the city homeless coordinator and “regulars” who participate in the WWC program. Each guest will check in at the intake site and have their bags & belongings searched for weapons, alcohol, drugs, or needles, none of which are allowed at the WWC sites.
Are there opportunities to volunteer at the Warming Centers? Absolutely. Cleared volunteers are welcome to provide meals, work with WWC logistical needs, visit with guests, and more. See our WWC Volunteer Signup page for more information.
How else can the community help? We’re always grateful for cash donations and ongoing giving support. Please consider donating to the Winter Warming Centers program and all the work that the Mercy Coalition is doing in our city.