The Warming Center Program

Cause Area

  • Homeless & Housing
  • Hunger


535 Spring StreetSANTA CRUZ, CA 95060 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Warming Center Program is a temporary coldest and wettest nights warming shelter. We've taken a strong stand that no one should have to sleep outside when it freezes. We activate Warming Centers when weather forecasts trigger our Temperature Thresholds with forecasts of: 34 degrees or lower; 36 degrees following a day of rain (quality of rain is considered); on the fourth night that rain is forecast and every consecutive night of rain. Forecasts fluctuate a great deal. It shouldn't be assumed that if a temperature forecast has crossed the Temperature Threshold several days out that the center will automatically open. Often temperature forecasts rise. We'll usually lock in program activation within 2 or 3 days in advance. The program utilizes a system of site-locations, volunteers, materials such as floor pads and blankets, a shuttle van, 211 Emergency Hotline, a center operating plan, etc.


When the temperature drops or there is a lot of rain, the Warming Center Program will activate. When we activate we need a lot of volunteers.

Volunteer Roles:

Street Team - putting the word out on the street during the daytime to those who'll benefit that night.

Mobilization - Wednesday only 5pm - help load the materials transport vehicle (1 hour)

Soup! - Wed. & Thurs. - We serve 4 gallons of soup at both the Shuttle Stop AND at the all-night Warming Center (can be different people)

Shuttle & Soup Stop host - Wed. & Thurs. 7pm-10pm - Serve soup to people waiting for the shuttle and keep a warm and friendly vibe.

Load in & Set up - Wed. & Thurs. 8pm - help us load a large amount of bedding materials into the space and set them up for use.

Late evening shift + Load in - Wed. & Thurs. 8pm-12am - This is the first shift that helps greet guests and set the tone for the evening.

12am-3am Overnight shift - Wed. & Thurs. - Monitoring a room of sleeping people while sitting quietly, serving soup, enjoying soft conversation.

3am-7am Overnight and Wake-up/Clean-up - Wed. & Thurs. - Monitoring a room of sleeping people, clean-up and load-out.

Laundry - Thurs. & Fri. morning 9am-11am - help launder +100 blankets at a coin-op laundromat - in upper westside.

We need your help.

If you're available and interested in helping then please email Brent 234-9848

Please take this stand with us that no one should have to sleep outside when it freezes.

If you're interested in what this all looks like, please read the blog post and check out photos here:

People may contact the telephone hotline when it becomes very cold, to find out when and where Warming Centers will be open.

The Warming Center Program has an open door policy and all are welcome, provided that basic rules are followed.

Rules: No substance or alcohol use in or around the premises, no violence, no theft, no repeated disruptions.

Dogs are welcome if they don't cause repeated disruptions. Bikes, backpacks and bike trailers are welcome as long as they fit and do not damage or soil the host site location.


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