Photo by Bailey Heedick on Unsplash

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Charleston locations that have previously hosted warming shelters will not be doing so this winter. But, since the need is still there, the city of Charleston is asking for help.

City leaders are asking organized groups, like community clubs or religious groups to help operate a warming center that will offer homeless individuals a place to stay during cold weather this winter as well as provide cots, pillows, blankets and meals. according to a press release.

Volunteers would sign up to be on call for one week during winter. If the shelter opens during that week, the on-call group will provide operational support. Depending on conditions, this could be for one night, several or not at all. Notice of at least 48 hours will be given.

Volunteers will also be added to a volunteer back-up list which will be called upon to fill in any gaps that open during the season.

Background checks will be conducted for all volunteers, and they will receive guidance and training to fill a variety of roles to support warming center operations such as:

  • Setup and cleanup
  • Registration 
  • Food service

The warming center is located at Arthur W. Christopher Community Center, at 265 Fishburne St., and will be able to house up to 80 individuals within recommended CDC guidelines for sheltering during COVID-19.

Volunteer support will be divided into two to four hour shifts with different functions, some of

which will not require contact with guests.

The following protocols and measures are in place for the safety of volunteers and guests during the pandemic:

  • All individuals will be asked about any COVID-19 symptoms they are experiencing and will have their temperature checked before entering
  • A separate room for isolation will be made available, if needed
  • Masks will be provided and required to be worn at all times

For those who want to help, but cannot commit the time, financial donations are also welcome. Contact Christopher Jardin at jardinc@charleston-sc.gov or (843) 577-1305 to sign up.