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Warming Center Program

Organization Mission

There will be no traditional winter shelter this year supported by the city and county of Santa Cruz. Warming Center will be the only option for many who sleep outside this season. Warming Center addresses unmet basic needs of homelessness not provided by other funding sources (government and other organizations).

Programs include our coldest and wettest nights shelter to eliminate the occurrence of hypothermia and death. Our Day & Night Storage keeps personal belongings safe and reduces the items people must carry around. Laundry Wednesday allows people to maintain their clothing and hygiene.

The Big Idea:
Not One Person has to Sleep Outside on the Worst Nights of Winter

There are far too few traditional homeless shelter beds in Santa Cruz County, and those that exist shut out many in need with strict arrival times, locked doors, and rules that may prevent access. Warming Center ensures that everyone may seek safe, warm, clean and dignified shelter on the coldest or wettest nights of winter.

Warming Center operates shelters in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. We feature an outreach program, an easy-to-remember hotline (246-1234), and a shuttle pick-up location serving soup and hot drinks to entice those who rarely access shelter. We prioritize those with physical mobility and mental health challenges as they often have difficulty accessing and maintaining shelter.

The Program activates when temperatures reach 36-38 degrees and in extreme rain events (1” in one day, .75” in each of two days, or .5” in each of three days), serving 150 people on a single night.

Our volunteer, community-funded program is only able to provide a level of service equal to the amount of community support received. A compassionate community demands that no one has to sleep outside during extreme cold and rain.

Staying at the Warming Center probably saved my life and now the storage is helping me rebuild it back. This has helped me more than anything since my divorce and becoming homeless. It was difficult but now I’m able to go to work and save money.


Robbins