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Warming Centers Successful in Year of COVID-19

Warming Centers Successful in Year of COVID-19


March 2, 2021



Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@ci.tacoma.wa.us, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications,
msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051


Warming Centers Successful in Year of COVID-19


Two Tacoma community centers were able to help provide unhoused individuals with more than just temporary relief from inclement weather this winter. Both centers had been temporarily closed to normal operations since the start of the pandemic.  

Eastside Community Center opened as a warming center in mid-October 2020 to provide a temporary offset for bed spaces that were lost when shelters were required to increase physical distancing in response to COVID-19. The center served 264 people during the inclement winter weather season. The Center at Norpoint which served an additional 31 people opened in late January 2021 to address a remaining gap.

The two warming center sites closed on Sunday, February 28 after successfully transitioning 57 clients to other community shelter locations for continued services.

“Our community service providers have been instrumental in helping to identify shelter availability for people from the warming centers,” said Sherri Jensen, Valeo Vocation. “We have worked with Bethlehem Baptist Church, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Catholic Community Services, Low-Income Housing Institute and The Salvation Army to make sure that no one left the warming centers for the street.”

The Salvation Army Site will continue its warming center operations through March 31, 2021.

“COVID-19 has created many barriers and challenges for addressing housing needs of people who are unhoused in our community,” said Allyson Griffith, Assistant Director of Neighborhood and Community Services. “This inclement weather season, because of the pandemic, the City,  and all of our community partners, specifically our   homeless service providers,  had to be even more innovative and repurpose resources to meet the need The closure of facilities like schools and community centers allowed us to work together to utilize these buildings in ways to help expand other resources. As we begin to reopen under the Governor’s phased plan, we must continue to be thoughtful in addressing the shelter needs in our community and reopening community services that are crucial to the stability and health of families, seniors and all residents in our community.”

For more information about the City’s inclement weather response visit cityoftacoma.org/inclementresources.