A new, 30-cot warming center in Richmond will bring more Contra Costa residents who are experiencing homelessness out of the cold and into services to help them regain housing.
The new service, a collaboration between Contra Costa Health Services’ Division of Health, Housing and Homeless Services (H3), the City of Richmond and the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), is co-located with GRIP’s daytime soup kitchen and drop-in care center in central Richmond.
“We are working with our partners throughout the county to expand capacity for all of our services,” H3 Director Lavonna Martin said. “Warming centers are important because they offer an immediate option when a crisis hits.”
The GRIP Warming Center, Contra Costa’s second such facility, opened April 15. Unlike emergency shelters, which take clients for as many as 120 days, warming center beds are filled on a night-to-night basis through the county’s CORE outreach teams.
In Contra Costa County, where about 2,000 people lack housing on any given night, waiting lists for shelters are often long. Warming centers provide a means for outreach workers to act quickly when they meet a client who needs immediate help.
H3 currently fields 10 two-person CORE teams, partnering with cities and special districts including BART to bring services and resources directly to people living outdoors in their jurisdictions.
GRIP, for decades a vital provider of homeless services in West County, operates the new facility through a contract with H3.
GRIP also runs its Souper Center and a daytime CARE Center, one of several drop-in locations supported by H3 that provide a range of services, from case management and housing navigation to free showers and laundry.
“Our mission has always been to serve individuals and families in our community who are in crisis,” GRIP Executive Director Kathleen Sullivan said. “The warming center is a natural extension of work we already do, co-located with our existing services.”
Anyone who is experiencing homelessness in Contra Costa can connect with a CORE team by calling 211 or dropping in at a CARE Center.