Logan Warming Center prepares for homeless community after Code Blue alert

Mar 4, 2024, 5:44 PM | Updated: 7:01 pm

LOGAN — Several northern Utah communities are under a Code Blue alert as the temperatures continue to drop Monday night, with a local warming center preparing for the homeless community in the Cache Valley area.

“There’s been a lot of people who are regulars that come in, but there are every night, it seems, somebody new popping in or just periodically coming in for a few weeks,” said Christine Runhaar, a recent volunteer at the William A. Burnard Warming Center.

Runhaar said typically, a couple of dozen people come every night to shelter from the cold at the warming center. She said the number of people tends to rise as the temperatures drop below Utah’s Code Blue threshold of 15 degrees.

“With Code Blue and all the snow … We wonder, ‘Are they okay? Are they safe?'” Runhaar said.

Runhaar preparing beds for visitors.

Runhaar preparing beds for visitors. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Runhaar said the homeless community in the Cache Valley area is typically different than what people might see in larger cities. She said many of the visitors in the center have full-time jobs, but the cost of living is forcing them to be on the streets.

“They still can’t afford housing, or they have part-time jobs, or they have families, or just have fallen a few hard times, and it’s snowballed into now they have no home,” Runhaar said.

According to Runhaar, the center has around 50 regular volunteers, but that’s still not enough to keep the place running. Many volunteers, including Runhaar, stay at the center for multiple nights a week.

She said it’s because the volunteers believe the work being done is essential for the community.

“One of them actually told me the other night, ‘You know, we’re not friends, we’re all family here.’ And there is that sense of community in this room, which I think is really important. You know, we take that for granted,” Runhaar said.

The warming center is open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. It will close for the season in a couple of weeks, but the center said it is always looking for future volunteers.

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Logan Warming Center prepares for homeless community after Code Blue alert