Molalla Warming Center provides for homeless
While there are multiple warming centers in Clackamas County, during a cold Dec. 12, there was only one overnight center open and that was in Molalla. The others in the county were all closed.
But Molalla's was open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. at its 209 Kennel Ave. location, and offered hot drinks, a hot dinner and a place to sleep. There could be several reasons why the others were closed. First the temperature was above freezing and typically the centers don't open unless temperatures are predicted to be below 33 degrees, including wind chill. Conditions, excepting some heavy rain, were not terribly dangerous, there was no snow, wind or flooding and temperatures were in the low 50s and upper 40s.
But the Molalla Warming Center was open on Dec. 12 to serve its daily average of 11 homeless people. Just about the same as the previous year. There's a definite difference in temperature between Oregon City and the hills of Mulino, said Leota Childress. "Sometimes its warmer here than Oregon City and others it's warmer there," she told the Pioneer
Last year, Molalla's Warming Center was open 87 nights and nine days. It provided 946 beds/sleeping mats for an average of 11 people staying overnight each night. Volunteers were on hand for 2,510 hours. Each volunteer was valued at nearly $25 per hour, which would have amounted to a total value of $61,971.90.
According to Leota Childress, a city council member who runs the warming center, volunteer shifts are about 14 ½ hours per night, with the last shift staying an extra half hour to clean up.
Each night there were at least two volunteers per night for a total of 174 volunteers, sometimes they were divided into a shift block. They served a total of 1,120 meals at a cost of $11,200. The meals also are cooked by volunteers. And those who've spent the night leave the next morning with a snack bag containing protein and a drink. "Sometimes the meal they get at night is the only meal they get per day," Childress says.The total value for the program, including if the volunteers had been paid was $73, 171.90, for the year.
"It's especially tough to get volunteers after 11 p.m.," said Childress. "We run 42 shifts a week. We get them through word of mouth and from our Facebook page, where we can. We haven't made an effort to out into large groups to find them."
Over the summer, Molalla's Warming Center was renovated. Without volunteers and donations, the cost would have been $23,000. That included volunteers, at $7,500 for 100 volunteer contractors and 200 labor volunteers valued at about $15 per hour or $3000 for a total volunteer costs that otherwise would have been $10,500, if they would have had to pay. Materials, which were donated, would have cost about $1,700. Clackamas County, through various grants, paid $7,800.
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