Leaders eye shelter for area’s homeless

Group considers Washougal’s Community Center for severe weather refuge; volunteers needed

With recent temperatures at or near freezing, city of Washougal officials are looking at ways they can help people currently living on the streets.

Representatives from the city, the Washougal School District, the Council for the Homeless, Camas-Washougal Fire Department, Washougal Police Department and St. Matthew Lutheran Church met Monday to determine if a severe weather shelter could be opened in the Washougal Community Center.

“It’s the only humane thing, but only if there is a deep well of trained volunteers and a clear process,” said Washougal Mayor-elect Molly Coston.

The committee discussing a severe weather shelter has met three times this month. It was formed after Washougal Mayor Sean Guard called St. Matthew’s Pastor Bob Barber to discuss the possibility of doing something to help the homeless sooner rather than later.

Barber said he knows of 10 individuals who are interested in volunteering at a severe weather shelter.

Nine of them are women.

“We need to rally some of the men,” Barber said.

The Washougal City Council recently approved an updated ordinance that prohibits camping and storage of personal property on public property and public right of ways from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The committee to discuss a severe weather shelter will meet again at 3 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 28, in the council chambers at Washougal City Hall, 1701 “C” St.

Those interested in volunteering at a shelter should contact Barber at 360-835-5533 or rbarber626@gmail.com.