The Covid-19 Crisis has created unique challenges for our most vulnerable neighbors, including those currently struggling with homelessness. In a typical year, dangerously low temperatures during the winter months are life-threatening to many of our neighbors struggling with homelessness. With the coldest temperatures still to come this winter season, The Light House and other local agencies and community groups recently stepped up to provide lifesaving warming relief. As of January 4th, 2021, The Light House partnered with the Stanton Center, Blessed in Tech Ministries, and the Annapolis Office of Emergency Management to increase the Stanton Center Warming Relief Program temperature threshold during this winter season.
For 10 years, The Stanton Center Warming Relief Program has served as a supplement to other winter warming programs in Anne Arundel County. One in particular is Winter Relief, managed by the Arundel House of Hope, and relies on a consortium of local churches throughout Anne Arundel County who rotate shelter duties during the winter. Because of the pandemic, this program was suspended for this winter season.
To fill the deficit left by the closing of other warming programs this year, The Light House partnered with the Stanton Center Warming Relief Program, Blessed in Tech Ministries, and the Annapolis Office of Emergency Management to provide warming relief at Stanton Center when temperatures reach 32 degrees or lower. Prior to this partnership, the Stanton Center Warming Relief Program’s activation threshold was 25 degrees. This partnership also provides additional funding for shelter and services to our street homeless citizens. In certain circumstances, the Stanton Center Warming Relief staff can utilize hotels, through Anne Arundel County, to shelter families.
On nights when temperatures reach 32 degrees or lower, the Stanton Center Warming Relief program averages 2-6 clients a night, providing a safe place for our most vulnerable neighbors to stay during these dangerously low temperatures.
Karen Williams, Director of Community Support and Diversion at The Light House, works with clients in their Safe Harbour Resource Center and is one of the staff members that directs clients to warming relief programs. “There are individuals who come to The Light House for our services who are chronically homeless, some who are newly homeless, and some who have just lost their housing that day,” Williams stated. “It’s a wide-ranging group and during the dangerously cold nights, we have been grateful to be able to direct clients to this life-saving emergency resource.”
The Warming Relief Program partnership at Stanton Center, located at 92 W. Washington Street, Annapolis, will extend through April 1, 2021.