Helping the homeless

By Heather Acheson, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

Amid all of the holiday cheer that can be found around town — from Christmas tree lightings and parades to visits from Santa — it is incredibly sobering to read that two local homeless shelters that serve the Clark County area were packed to their limits on the first day they opened for the winter season on Nov. 1, and have remained steadily busy ever since.

This is the first time in the history of the Winter Hospitality Overflow program that this kind of immediate demand has occurred. Combined, both shelters have room for about 80 people.

Since it’s formation in 2003, the Winter Hospitality Overflow program has been operated in partnership with Share, St. Andrew Lutheran Church and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Vancouver and Council for the Homeless.

Each of these organizations who collaborate to provide a place for the homeless during five months out of the year, have missions to serve the homeless that go well beyond this one alone.

Share offers financial programs that incorporate financial education and matched dollars for savings; these programs are designed to assist in the improvement of credit scores and financial management. The Council for the Homeless, founded in 1989, works to create long-term solutions to homelessness — with the ultimate goal of bringing and end to it.

But these organizations cannot achieve their goals without the help of volunteers willing to give their time to help. For more information on how to lend a hand, visit www.whoprogram.org.