AN IMPORTANT UPDATE ON THE 2020-2021 WARMING CENTER SEASON:
Since it's start the Daytime Warming Center has been a place that is open to anyone and everyone regardless of housing status. In the spirit of mutual aid we all come together knowing that each of us is both a guest and a volunteer. A guest, because we all get needs met from being a part of the warming center -- whether it is the need for a warm, dry, safe place to be inside, the need for food, to access the resources from the free tables, the need for community, or the need to live out our faith and/or find ways to "give back." We all are there to get our needs met, and are therefore all guests. And we are all volunteers because we all have a hand in contributing to keeping the center open, clean and safe. We all have a responsibility to respectfully hold one another accountable and contribute to the democratic process.
This year in light of the Covid19 Pandemic and the public health crisis that surrounds it we are struggling to find ways to open and stay safe. We strive to find a balance between Covid Safety and the other risks to health and safety that come from exposure to cold and wet weather, housing insecurity, food insecurity and isolation.
To do this we have had to make some hard and painful decisions. For the 2020-2021 Warming Center Season (Start of November - End of March ) the following changes should be noted:
* Traditionally we have allowed (encouraged!) volunteers to just "drop in" whenever they can; staying for the day or an hour. Volunteers have filled roles similar to "staff" essentially forming a volunteer staffing collective, or simply dropped in for a cup of coffee and a quick game of cards. This season, in order to both know and have some control over the number of people in the spaces we are limiting the number of volunteers each "shift" and will require volunteers to sign up for "shifts" in advance and let us know if they are unable to make it. We will strive to have regular and consistent volunteers. We ask volunteers to meet with Sheri at the start of their first shift for a brief orientation and to participate in the screening process along with guests upon arrival for any shift.
* In the past one of the best things about the warming center is that it has been not strictly for those experiencing homelessness, but a rotating community center open to all in need of community. Perhaps the hardest decision we have had to make this season is to ask that only those with no other safe indoor place to be come to the warming center. This means that those with indoor homes, those who are residents at the Delonis shelter and are therefore able to stay in the building and those involved in the men's rotating shelter when the hosting congregation will allow them to stay during the day are being asked not to come to the day shelter.
We will revisit these 2 changes at the beginning of 2021 and again at the start of February and March and announce if it is determined that health and safety precautions allow for us to change this.
We encourage those who have safe indoor places to be who traditionally come to the warming center for food and/or community to reach out to Sheri to brainstorm other resources and find ways to connect you in.
For updates about the steps we are taking for Covid-19
For updates for Food Donations
For updates for other needs
Volunteer signup page
In the winter of 2013/2014, during the polar vortex, the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County had to changed their weather amnesty from 20° F actual temperature down to 10° F due to budget concerns, a pastor from First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor opened their church for a few days to help keep people warm. At the same time MISSION went to St Mary's Student Parish to discuss the up coming Christmas party at Mercy House when the priest asked MISSION "What could St Mary's do to save lives?" Our answer was a democratically self governing space that is warm and has tons of coffee. To our excitement the priest said yes and the Daytime Warming Center came into being. Working with the faith community we have expanded from one month to four, strengthening the bond between the shelter, faith and homeless communities.