TOWANDA – The United Way of Bradford County, Main Link, YMCA, Christ Episcopal Church and other local organizations have joined forces to open a warming center at the Main Link in Towanda this winter.
Definition of Centers:
- A Warming Center is a temporary facility that is made available during extreme temperature conditions when normal coping mechanisms in the home are ineffective or unavailable.
- During power outages Centers can be opened to provide public information, charging stations for electronic devices, and power for medical equipment.
- Centers are not overnight shelters or homeless shelters. They are open for a limited number of hours for a limited number of days and provide limited services. Centers are not day care for children, the elderly or others who cannot care for themselves. It is assumed that individuals who use the Center can return to their homes when the Centers are closed.
“Bradford County has not had a Warming Center although most counties in PA do. After looking at their operations, the time is now for us to offer this service. The Warming Center will be a collaboration of numerous agencies: Main Link, United Way of Bradford County, YMCA, Christ Episcopal Church, and many more that will help inform the public,” a press release from the United Way said.
The trigger to open the Warming Center will be if the temperature falls below 20 degrees with excessive wind chill, or if the snow fall prediction is over 10 inches.
The three main groups that can benefit from the Warming Center are:
- Motorists that are stranded on our roads and State and Local police can direct them or bring them to the center to be warm as they coordinate how to get their vehicles towed or plowed out. They can also charge their phones.
- Residents that do not have electricity because of shut offs and need to be in the warm.
- The Homeless population that wants to get out of the snow or cold temperature.
The Warming Center would be open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. for the above to come in and get warm. Hot beverages would be available. Volunteers from the various agencies and churches would man the Center, all having criminal background and child abuse clearances. Staffing will be either two males or a male and female. Local police will be asked to swing by during the evening.
The Main Link, located at 17 Pine Street in Towanda, was selected because of its proximity to police and major highways. It has familiarity for our homeless population and 211 is already familiar with the agency.
Incident and Safety Forms have been created in case they are needed and will be filled out by the volunteer staff that was at the Warming Center if a Safety issue or Incident occurs.
As soon as the temperature rises, or snow is under control the above organizations will be notified that the Warming Center is closed. An assessment will be made about how the program worked and what changes could be implemented to improve the experience.