Yakima's overnight shelters for homeless in need of volunteers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima's overnight shelters for homeless in need of volunteers

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YAKIMA, WA - In Yakima, Neighborhood Health is keeping the homeless warm at their overnight Extreme Winter Weather Shelters, and now that it's getting even colder, they may need some extra help.

At the moment there are three shelters at different churches, totaling to 20 beds for men and 15 for women. 

The Extreme Winter Weather Shelters program has been going on for two years now, and the program has greatly reduced the number of homeless deaths caused by cold temperatures.

"People will freeze and die if they don't have warm places to sleep," said Becky Buell, a volunteer of over 7 years. "And since the shelter program started, there have been very few or no deaths from hypothermia."

Since they opened, attendance at the shelters have been lower than last year during this time, and the reasons for this vary.

"There [are] people that have gone back to their families, some go to other place[s], whether it is by the river or other places that they would rather be, because they want freedom," said Frank Ramirez, the Extreme Winter Weather Shelter Coordinator.

With the first snow storm hitting our region, Neighborhood Health expects that to change and will need more volunteers to keep the shelters open.

"We can have food and we can have beds but if you don't have volunteers then we can't open," said Ramirez.

If anyone is interested in volunteering, they can do so by contacting Neighborhood Health.

Extreme Winter Weather Shelters will stay open until March 30th.

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