Roger Evans, New Hope Fellowship Church shelter coordinator, sets up two cots as examples of what is available to those that seek shelter at the church on Tuesday, in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Roger Evans, New Hope Fellowship Church shelter coordinator, sets up two cots as examples of what is available to those that seek shelter at the church on Tuesday, in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Cold weather shelters in Snohomish County open as temperatures drop

In Monroe, Roger Evans wants to “give people the tools I was given to get here” after 35 years of homelessness.

MONROE — Roger Evans remembers the winters he spent outside being miserable.

On his fingers, he counted to seven: the number of shelters he remembers in his 35 years of homelessness while he struggled with addiction.

On Tuesday, however, he stood in the lobby at New Hope Fellowship in Monroe. Hours later, the church would be set up with cots to offer refuge for people living outside as overnight temperatures approach freezing in Snohomish County.

“I’m trying to give people the tools I was given to get here,” said Evans, now the shelter coordinator here.

Shelter staff hope to connect clients with more permanent help. For example, a man who stayed at the cold weather shelter last year now works there.

This year, there’s a mother and her 9-year-old daughter who live in a trailer without heat; a man who works a full-time job while trying to get his degree; a woman leaving an abusive relationship.

“It’s about saving lives,” said Valerie Warren, the office administrator at the church and Volunteers of America volunteer. “That’s the bottom line.”

Overnight lows in Everett this week are projected to hover in the low 30s, said Reid Wolcott, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Seattle. In Monroe, lows could be in the high 20s. Highs in Everett aren’t expected to get over 50 degrees.

After a prolonged summer that ended with an unseasonably warm October, this cold stretch has been a “shock to the system,” Wolcott said.

November is usually the wettest month in this area, he said. But this year has been surprisingly dry.

But “this won’t last forever,” Wolcott noted. Precipitation is expected to arrive next week, and with it some warmer temperatures. Warm in November means highs in the 50s, Wolcott said.

The cold weather shelter at the Monroe church, which opened Nov. 1, never turns people away. Guests may sleep in other rooms, in hallways, if the demand is there. That shelter, along with another one on Avenue B in Snohomish, averages about 10 guests per night, a number that has gone down as similar shelters have opened up for the year, Evans said.

Volunteers of America operates both of the east county shelters in Snohomish at 210 Avenue B, and Monroe at 1012 W. Main Street. Both shelters open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. when the temperature drops below 34 degrees.

Cold weather shelter flyer for east Snohomish County. (Courtney of Snohomish County Public Safety)

Cold weather shelter flyer for east Snohomish County. (Courtney of Snohomish County Public Safety)

It’s friendly, cozy and safe, said Warren, the Monroe church staffer.

“There is absolutely no reason anyone should be out in the freezing cold,” she said.

In Lynnwood, the south county cold weather shelter is at Maple Park Lutheran Church at 17620 60th Avenue West. It opened for the season on Tuesday night, said Lisa Utter, chair of the shelter’s board. Utter expects it to be open Thursday night, as well. Utter recommended checking out the county’s cold weather shelter website to see which are open each night.

Like others, it usually opens on nights when lows get below 34 degrees. Lows this week in Lynnwood are forecast between 30 and 33 degrees the rest of this week, before rising early next week. Utter expects the shelter to be open more this month than past Novembers.

With COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place, the Lynnwood shelter’s capacity is 23. Last year, it averaged 10 people per night.

The shelter, open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., does not accept walk-ins. A van picks people up at 7 p.m. at Lynnwood City Hall, 7:05 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church on 196th Street and 7:20 p.m. at the old Value Village on Highway 99 and 172nd Street. On Wednesdays, those pick-up times are in the 9 p.m. hour. Guests can also arrive by car.

Utter, a former Lynnwood City Council member, has been working at the cold weather shelter for over 15 years. She noted the importance of having a shelter available for people in their own community, rather than making them trek to Everett or further.

“There’s such a need,” she said. “The philosophy of the shelter is that we all belong in the community.”

Evans has been helping at the Monroe shelter for years now, and “it’s great that we have this, but if we didn’t need this, it would be even better.”

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

More information

Visit snohomish-county-public-safety-hub-snoco-gis.hub.arcgis.com/pages/cold-weather-shelters for a rundown of all the cold weather shelters in the area.

Everett Family Cold Weather Shelter

5126 S Second Avenue.

Opens at 4 p.m. Closes at 8 p.m.

Contact speterson@egmission.org for more information.

Everett

First Baptist Church at 1616 Pacific Avenue.

Opens at 8 p.m. Closes at 10 p.m.

Call 425-740-2550 for more information.

Marysville

Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 7215 51st Avenue NE.

Opens at 7 p.m. Closes at 9:30 p.m.

Preferred donations include meat, pasta and vegetables, as well as disposable plates and cutlery.

Call 425-686-9272 for more information.

Snohomish

Snohomish Evangelical Free Church at 210 Avenue B.

Doors open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closes at 7 a.m.

Call 425-535-0000 for more information.

Monroe

New Hope Fellowship at 1012 W Main Street.

Doors open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closes at 7 a.m.

Shuttle to shelter departs from Sultan Library at 7:45 p.m.

Encourages volunteers and donations of cash and food.

Call 425-535-0000 for more information.

South County Shelter

Maple Park Lutheran Church at 17620 60th Avenue W in Lynnwood.

Opens at 7 p.m. and provides hot meals.

Encourages monetary donations at its website weallbelong.org.

Call 206-743-9843 for more information.

This story previously included the wrong address for the Marysville Cold Weather Shelter. It is located at 7215 51st Avenue NE.

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