The Whatcom County Health Department is opening overnight shelters in Bellingham and Ferndale in response to severe cold weather warnings.
The shelters, operated by Bellingham-based nonprofit Road 2 Home, are located in Bellingham at the Civic Field Athletic Complex at 1355 Civic Field Way and in Ferndale at the United Church of Ferndale at 2034 Washington St.
The Bellingham shelter is open from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., and the Ferndale shelter is open from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.
The shelters have cots, sleeping bags, bathrooms, hot showers, towels and food.
“People can reserve their cots over multiple nights,” said Nota Tsitsiragos, a volunteer for Road 2 Home. “If you were here the night before, you can reserve your cot the next night until 8 p.m. After that, it’s first come first served.”
The Bellingham shelter can accommodate up to 45 people, with rooms set aside for emergency separations or other extenuating circumstances if necessary.
“It’s near the holidays and cold outside, emotions run high. People miss their families,” said Daniel Banes, who regularly uses the Bellingham shelter.
The Bellingham shelter can only accept adults and accompanied minors. The shelter can also accept accompanied dogs.
“They got snacks and tea and clean towels and showers, and it’s warm, and for what it is, it’s great,” Banes said.
Tsisiragos recommended unaccompanied minors looking for shelter go to the Northwest Youth Services’ Ground Floor shelter at 2500 E St. in Bellingham.
The Bellingham shelter operates through the night of Monday, Dec. 5, and the Ferndale shelter operates through the night of Saturday, Dec. 3.
Troy Schulz (he/him) is a city news reporter at The Front. He studies news/editorial journalism. He has previously written for Zenger News and WhatCulture.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.