This Lehigh Valley warming station expanded its hours amid the snow, with COVID-19 measures in place
December 16, 2020 at 11:56 PM
lBy Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.com
The Greater Valley YMCA announced expanded hours Wednesday night at its Allentown Warming Station, as the region remains under a National Weather Service Winter Storm Warning until 10 a.m. Thursday.
The station at the Allentown Y Branch, 425 S. 15th St., can accommodate 70 people, socially distanced due to the coronavirus, according to its nonprofit parent.
Intake will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., with operating hours extended until 10 a.m. Thursday. Ripple Community Inc. agreed to provide wrap-around services until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17. The Warming Station at the Allentown YMCA is scheduled to open at 6 p.m. on Thursday through 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 17-18.
With the potential for power outages resulting from heavy snow combined with gusty winds, officials across the region are monitoring the need to open additional warming centers or shelters.
In Warren County, Public Safety Director Frank Wheatley told lehighvalleylive.com these centers are generally coordinated by municipalities. The county, however, will work in concert with municipal officials and provide any assistance needed, all while abiding by COVID-19 protocols, he said.
In Wheatley’s experience, most local residents stay with family or neighbors if they are displaced by extended power outages.
“Most of the people here, they’re very resilient,” he said Wednesday.
At the Allentown Y, the Greater Valley YMCA on Wednesday evening will provide dinner to those seeking shelter, with breakfast Thursday morning provided by the Lehigh Conference of Churches. Ripple will provide Thursday’s lunch and then, on Thursday evening, the YMCA will offer dinner.
Additionally, Lehigh Valley Health Network Street Medicine will offer wellness checks at the Allentown Y; at Ripple, 1335 Linden St. in Allentown; and on the street for neighbors who typically do not make use of the shelter, according to a news release from the Greater Valley YMCA.
In an effort to provide engagement for guests, the YMCA will provide puzzle books and a movie will be shown thanks to support from the City of Allentown. Shower facilities will also be available at the Allentown Y.
Allentown Branch’s Warming Station provides a safe place to sleep and a dignified sense of community for neighbors in need, according to the release. The Y also serves healthy, prepared meals to Warming Station guests. Services are offered daily through April 30.
“The Y expresses its gratitude for partners with a spirit of collaboration and heart for the community,” Greater Valley YMCA CEO David Fagerstrom says in the release. “Because of these partners, throughout the winter storm, those experiencing homelessness will have access to safe shelter, meals and medical care.”
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