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Sacramento City, County And Churches Open Warming Centers

In response to expected temperatures in the lower 30s over the next three to four nights, the City, County and area churches are opening their doors as warming centers. 

"We've been working for the past 24 hours, making sure we have staff and the facility is all clean," said Chris Andis, from the County of Sacramento.

She said the Office Of Emergency services monitors the weather daily and when they see a dip below freezing for an extended period of time they jump into preparation mode. 

The City and County teamed up to open a center in Southside Park at 2107 6th Street. The center will open Tuesday night, December 30, at 8 p.m., and stay open until 6 a.m. It is expected to operate through Saturday morning, if the cold persists.

There is seating capacity for about 50 people, snacks and chairs will be provided. There will be no beds on the premise. 

"This is not a shelter. There's no bed or showers. It's a place people can get out of the cold," explained Andis. "Historically [warming centers] aren't packed. But every time is different so we don't know."

Some kennels will be available for pets of people using the center. More information can be accessed by calling 2-1-1.

The Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance will make motel vouchers and bus passes available for homeless families and individuals to get in out of the cold. They will be distributed through County social workers and the City Policy Department's Impact Team. Vouchers will be available at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

Sacramento Steps Forward operates the Winter Sactuary, a rotating shelter-program held in various places of worship through out the winter months. Every night each host church is at capacity, said Maya Wallace, external affairs director for Sacramento Steps Forward. 

"We are expanded Winter Sactuary for this week, because it's cold," said Wallace. "We're also working on getting more churches to open their doors as warming centers."

Wallace said a big need during this season is volunteers. A lot of people are out of town over the holidays and finding people to staff the warming centers can be a challenge. 

If you'd like to volunteer contact Sacramento Steps Forward, volunteer@sacstepsforward.org 

Melody Stone

Interactive Producer

After working in newspapers and doing print journalism for years, Melody transitioned into digital marketing and design. With a healthy blend of journalistic and digital media skills she builds out interactive web stories for Capradio.org.  Read Full Bio