With more snow in the forecast, the city of Seattle more than doubled the number of severe weather shelters open throughout the city Tuesday, adding additional shelter downtown and in North Seattle.
The city’s announcement comes after 148 people spent Monday night at the city’s Seattle Center’s Severe Weather Shelter, which was originally intended to hold 100 people. Before Tuesday, it was the only city-run severe weather shelter open. In recent days, counties, other cities and organizations have responded to the inclement weather by opening more than 15 overnight severe weather shelters.
Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall is serving as a severe-weather shelter for any adults over 18. Pets are allowed. The shelter is open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. It is expected to close on Monday, Jan. 20, after temperatures have risen, said Mark Reardon, strategic adviser for Seattle’s Human Services Department.
On Tuesday, the city opened a severe weather shelter in North Seattle, for single adults, families with children and people living in their vehicles, at the Bitter Lake Community Center. The shelter will be open 24/7.
In addition, the city will open Seattle Municipal Tower as a severe weather shelter for any adults over 18 starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. It is expected to close on Friday morning.
For the most up-to-date information, see the Emergency Winter Shelter map above.
In the daytime, people looking to escape the cold can go to the Seattle Center Armory, located a few hundred yards away from Seattle Center’s Severe Weather Shelter, Reardon said. For shelter help, call 211 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outside of that time, calling King County’s Crisis Line, at 866-427-4747, can connect people to the most up-to-date shelter options during severe weather.
For housed people who want to know how they can help, consult these resources on what to do when you see someone in the cold.
Service providers will be on-site at Seattle Center to direct any families to Mary’s Place, which provides overnight emergency shelter for families with kids, Reardon said.
Families can access help by calling the King County Emergency Family Shelter Intake Line at 206-245-1026. If a family is located far from a shelter, a Lyft can be sent to pick them up, said Linda Mitchell, chief communications officer for Mary’s Place.
Even during warmer weather, Mary’s Place shelters are typically running at full capacity, Mitchell said, but staff are preparing to open additional space if needed.
“We will not turn away any family during this inclement weather,” Mitchell said.
King County’s Administration Building has expanded its 50-bed emergency shelter for men ages 18 and older by another 50 beds. The shelter opens at 7 p.m. and closes at 6 a.m. every day. No referrals are required. The shelter will return to its regular, 50-bed operation starting Thursday said Sherry Hamilton, communications director of King County’s Department of Community and Health Services. Across the street from the Administration Building, the county’s Jefferson Day Shelter is open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Navigation Team, a group made up of outreach workers and police officers that usually precede encampment removals, will be traveling throughout the city to look for people living outside who are “our most vulnerable and highest-risk clients,” Reardon said. The Navigation Team will try to connect people with the services they need and help to transport them to emergency-shelter options.
After reviewing the city’s response to last year’s large February snowstorm, Reardon said, “We feel better prepared, but also understand every storm impacts us uniquely.”
Outside of Seattle, severe weather shelters for adults over 18 opened in Shoreline and Burien. Vashon Island also opened a shelter Sunday, for single adults and families but only if they live on the island.
In South King County, shelters in Kent, Renton and Federal Way opened Monday evening.
And on the Eastside of King County, shelters for single adults and families with children expanded their hours Monday to stay open 24/7.
In Snohomish County, four winter weather shelters opened Sunday in Marysville, Monroe, Lynnwood and Snohomish due to expected freezing temperatures. These four locations only open when temperatures are expected to hit freezing or below. To stay up-to-date on shelter openings in Snohomish County, the Snohomish Health District lists open cold weather shelters daily.
An emergency winter-weather shelter in Everett remains open, at Everett United Church Christ, 2624 Rockefeller Ave. People can stay there from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. The shelter has 60 beds for adults only, ages 18 and older. Service dogs are welcome.
In Kitsap County, five severe weather shelters will remain open in Poulsbo, Port Orchard, Silverdale, Kingston and Bainbridge Island until Friday. All five shelters open at 6 p.m. and close at 7 a.m. They welcome single adults and families with children.
Some of the information in this post has been updated.