Emergency shelter has become an essential service
Those in need of a place to stay, a meal or an opportunity to get back on their feet have a relatively new resource in the community: The Newberg Emergency Shelter.
The shelter, located at 615 N. College St., started as just a warming shelter back in 2018 at Zion Lutheran Church. When the temperature was below freezing, they were open to houseless and other individuals who needed to get out of the cold.
In January the shelter expanded its services to become an overnight shelter for those in need, free and open to all who need somewhere to stay during a transitional period of their lives. The emergency shelter is open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., serving dinner in the evening and breakfast in the morning.
"This is a service not just for our houseless guests," said Kara Davidhi director of operations. "We're helping the community as a whole, helping folks get off the streets at night, bettering them by helping them get rested and fed. We're more of a transitional housing and have helped several members find and apply for jobs and housing."
Davidhi remembered a man who came through their shelter recently who eventually found more permanent housing, and their service to him didn't stop there. The emergency shelter raised money for the man to get essential appliances and other items in his new residence.
The shelter itself requires collaboration with many of the community's stakeholders in low-income and houseless services. Davidhi characterized it as a collaborative effort.
"I am the director of operations, so I make sure all of the day-to-day items get checked off," she said. "We have our volunteer coordinator and about 180 volunteers on our email list. But only about 10 of those volunteers are active, so we definitely need some volunteers. We're also partnered with the Community Wellness Collective, which helps us financially, and we work a lot with Newberg FISH and YCAP because the house belongs to them."
Donations are much needed as well, and those can either be dropped off with a volunteer at the shelter itself or coordinated with Davidhi.
"We have a lot of people who want to donate items, and they just have to reach out to me if they're interested in doing that," she said. "We are always looking for food items, especially the essentials. Cleaning supplies are also something we really need, especially because of COVID and that we have high expectations for sanitation and cleanliness in the shelter. Anything that folks can donate is greatly appreciated."
Further information and updates on the shelter can be found at its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewbergEmergencyShelter.
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