Rod’s House’s youth cold weather shelter to open in November

Rod’s House’s youth cold weather shelter to open in November

The Yakima City Council approved a request for a youth temporary emergency cold weather shelter from Rod’s House at this week’s meeting.

The shelter will house young adults ages 18 to 24 at Englewood Christian Church on 44th Avenue in Yakima. Starting Nov. 1, about 16 young adults will be able to stay the night at the church. It’ll be open until March 2020.

Rod’s House is expecting to serve about 50 young adults throughout the winter. They’ll also provide resources to those young adults to help get them on their feet and out of homelessness.

Josh Jackson, Rod’s House’s executive director, said last winter, they saw 38 percent of the young people leave the shelter to a permanent housing destination, whether that was into their own apartment or reuniting with family. He said their goal is to not have them stay for long.

“It’s really important to have interventions for young people because we can help prevent and end their homelessness,” said Jackson.

Rod’s House regularly provides meals, clothes and personal hygiene items to those who need them. The house serves as a support network for youth and young adults. It has an employment and education readiness program that helps youth graduate, become work-ready and find and keep meaningful employment. People who use the shelter also have access to those resources.

The Homeless Network of Yakima County has run cold weather shelters for youth for the past two years. Jackson said before the community had a youth shelter three years ago, he would see young homeless people out on the streets during the winter.

“A lot of the young adults I was working with were staying outside, in cars or down by the river,” said Jackson. “And a couple cases we saw fingers and toes that were borderline frostbitten, and frankly they were at risk of perishing because of the cold.”

Staff will transport youth from Rod’s house to the church for dinner and breakfast the next morning.

Jackson said they’re glad they can help fill this need in the community. Rod’s House is always looking for more volunteers.