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By Henrietta J. Burroughs
Posted on November 24, 2010

Project WeHOPE announced today that it is formally opening the East Palo Alto Warming Shelter on Wednesday, November 24, to serve the hundreds of homeless who are located in the city. The shelter was originally scheduled to open on December 1.

But, the Rev. Paul Bains, the Pastor of Saint Samuels Church in Christ, who also runs Project WeHOPE, said that because of the extremely cold weather and rain, as well as, an emergency need by the City of East Palo Alto, Project WeHOPE decided to open the East Palo Alto Warming Shelter early.

The Warming Shelter is in the Lord's Gym which is located at 1858 Bay Road in East Palo Alto. It is the second building behind 1836 Bay Road.

Carol Busani, who is an assistant with the San Mateo County Center on the Homelessness, sent an email to local service providers today in which she said, "The overnight weather forecast for November 24 through November 28, 2010 calls for a low temperature of 38 degrees or below, therefore the emergency voucher program IS activated."

"This is the process," Busani said, "for getting homeless individuals motel vouchers during inclement weather. These motel vouchers are to be utilized only after all three emergency shelters (Safe Harbor 873-4921, Maple Street 364-1150, Innvision 614-9887) are full and will be available in addition to the motel vouchers currently available at St Vincent's."

In opening the Warming Shelter now and in responding to Busani's email, Bains said, "We have to address the need right now, instead of waiting."

Picture of homeless people
                 Photo courtesy of the San Mateo County Health Department
This picture shows some of the homeless in East Palo Alto
who lined up to register for the EPA Connect II event which
was held in the city on November 18 to assist the homeless.

But, according to Bains, addressing the needs of East Palo Alto's homeless now, by opening the shelter early, carries repercussions for the shelter. Since the shelter was originally scheduled to stay open through April, it's early opening means that it will now have to close in March, unless it receives another $30,000 to $40,000.

Bains said that the shelter is still in need of meals and is looking for individuals and organizations who can Adopt-A-Day on a Tuesday or Wednesday to supply food for the homeless. Those interested in participating can contact Jana Sullivan, who is the WeHOPE project manager. Her email is piphijana@gmail.com.

The Warming Shelter will be open and serving Thanksgiving meals on November 25, Thanksgiving Day.

Those with emergency needs or those who know of others with emergency needs can contact the Warming Shelter at (650) 330-8000 during the work day. After hours, the emergency contact number is (650) 207-1998.


Updated Nov.24, 2010 at 2:36 p.m.



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