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Despite the current heat, homeless advocates in Twin Falls are thinking about keeping warm next winter

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 08, 2024

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — With the first year under his belt, Twin Falls Warming CenterDirector Randy Wastradowski has a good idea of what it will take to keep the doors open for year two. They have until late September to raise fundsto commit to a second year.

  • 100 unique visitors made 930 visits to the Warming Center from November 10, 2023 through February 2024.
  • 63 volunteers logged 1,519 hours helping out at the center, covering 258 shifts.
  • Wastradowski said hiring two additional staff would make the operation sustainable.
  • The organization wants to raise $35,000 by the end of September to be able to commit to a second year.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

“I know it's the farthest thing from people’s mind, because it's still several months off and it's hundred degrees out,” Warming Center Director Randy Wastradowski told Idaho News 6.

As hot as it is, Wastradowski is thinking about the coming winter.

“For us to commit to being here again and again allowing us to be able to do everything we want to do, we need to have at least 35 to 40,000 by October first,” Wastradowski said.

Wastradowski is operations manager for Valley House Shelter, and he said that the need for assistance doesn't seem to go up in the summer heat, although they do go through more bottles of water.

Randy is also the director of the Twin Falls Warming Center.

In its first year, the Warming Center saw 100 different visitors stop in, with 930 visits, people looking to get in from the cold during 86 of the coldest winter nights.

“Not only does it keep people warm, the biggest thing is the disposition of these people when they come in a lot of them are literally hopeless and their last strand of hope,” Wastradoski said. “Once they get a good night sleep little bit of food and just that knowledge of you know what if it's not so bad.”

The project had been long in the making,

“Everything kind of really worked the way it was supposed to have worked. I don't know if that was a fluke or if it's just it was the right time and the right concept,” Wastradoski said. “The community bought into it and got behind it.

The current fundraising campaign is online, and randy says if there's enough community support, they'll be able to continue the program for this next winter.

“Really, we're looking for 200 people to donate $100,” Wastradowski said. “That would go a long way.”