WINTER NIGHTS QUICK FACTS
To protect homeless families and seniors from winter weather by providing shelter in a clean, safe, and warm environment.
To organize, fund, and operate a program under the auspices of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County that will provide temporary nighttime shelter from mid October to the end of April for families with children and elders capable of self care who are experiencing homelessness in Contra Costa County
A TYPICAL WEEK OF “WINTER NIGHTS”
Mid Afternoon Monday: The truck carrying 33 air mattresses, bed linens, and the
belongings of the families arrives at the faith congregation to be unloaded by the program staff, assisted by volunteers. Volunteers set up a section of the facility for dining, a section for sleeping, and a section for homework and games, etc.
5:00 PM Monday through Friday: Volunteers come to prepare for the arrival of guests. The congregation provides dinner, supplies for next day lunches, and breakfast.
5:30 PM: Guests begin arriving at the Shelter and snack on healthful appetizers (veggies, cheese, etc.). Site Supervisor is present and possibly Program Manager, as well.
6:30 PM: Dinner is served; volunteers eat with guests. Meals for late arrivals due to work or other commitment are set aside for later consumption.
7:00 PM: Activities—homework, reading to little ones, board games (chess, monopoly, etc.), art projects, etc.
8:30 PM: Bedtime for children.
9:30 PM: Lights Out. The overnight Site Supervisor is awake through the night; two volunteers (one man and one woman) from the congregation spend the night. The volunteers are permitted to sleep and are on call.
Breakfast is served at 5:15 AM. 6:30 AM: clients leave the shelter site. Transportation is provided as needed to public transportation, schools, etc.
9:00AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday, the Program provides a daytime site in Pittsburg with job and housing search support. Congregations generally provide weekend daytime programs.
On “Moving Day” (Monday) Midmorning: Volunteers re-load equipment and supplies into the truck to deliver them to the next shelter location. Volunteers from the past location launder the bed linens and deliver them to the new location before mid-afternoon.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE—BASIC CRITERIA:
- A family with dependent children
- Deemed homeless
- Willing to commit in writing to comply with the Client Participation Guidelines
- Willing to work toward self-sufficiency and permanent housing.
LENGTH OF STAY IN PROGRAM: Will vary depending on the needs of the individual or family. All clients commit to working toward permanent housing and selfsufficiency.
SCREENING OF SHELTER GUESTS: Clients participating in the Winter Nights Program are screened prior to participation to ensure that they meet the Eligibility Criteria as described in the Business Plan. Initial screening will be conducted by phone to determine general eligibility. A second screening will be an in-person interview conducted by program staff to determine eligiblity. If applicants are denied admission to the Program, they will be referred to other more appropriate services for assistance.
To ensure that the Winter Nights program fulfills its mission and meets the needs of the clients according to the standards that have been set, the Program will engage in a continual process of monitoring operations. Staff meetings will be held to review the Program. A Summary Program Evaluation will be conducted by the Executive Director and the Executive Committee and will be reported to the Interfaith Council and to the community through the program website. For complaint process, See “Program Monitoring and Quality Assurance,” Business Plan.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
On entry into the shelter, a health screening is conducted, including a test for tuberculosis, provided by Public Health Department personnel. At any time, individuals with obvious signs or symptoms of active communicable illness will be given a motel voucher and referred to the appropriate medical facility for treatment. (See Business Plan). First Aid supplies will be available, and orientation to fire exits and extinguishers will be provided. Client guidelines provide for many safety issues. (See client Participation Guidelines).
Paid Staff will include a Program Manager and Site Supervisors, Oasis Supervisor, and a van driver. A pro-bono Executive Director is responsible for directing the program and reporting to the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County’s Executive Board. Volunteers from the congregations, working under the direction of the paid personnel, are an important part of the staffing. (See Business Plan).