Boiseans step in to help open emergency cooling shelters

As temperatures soar into the triple digits this week, two cooling shelters at the downtown branch of the Boise Public Library and Cathedral of the Rockies in northeast Boise are fully staffed and ready to go with water, snacks, sunscreen, and seating areas for anyone in need.

Boiseans came together and offered the necessary support to staff these shelters with just 3 days notice! We began the process of locating and staffing the shelters on Friday. Now, with the help of local volunteers and staff from both Interfaith Sanctuary and CATCH, we can keep residents who don’t have houses cool through at least the end of the week.

During the pandemic, Hayes Auditorium at the Boise Public Library was identified as a site for people to find shelter during these extreme heat waves. The City of Boise quickly opened that location up again this week as it became clear the Treasure Valley would face dangerous temperatures. 

Pastor Duane Anders at Cathedral of the Rockies stepped in almost immediately to offer some of the church’s extra space to keep people cool. Volunteers from the church, Medical Reserve Corps and Interfaith Sanctuary signed up to staff both locations in a matter of hours.

Boise’s homeless residents can use the shelter space at Corpus Christi during the day, where a sprinkler system mists water over shaded picnic benches to keep visitors cool. Interfaith opened up the back end of our shelter as well, and while that provides some immediate relief in the Cooper Court area, the need city-wide is much greater. 

On Monday morning, staff began handing out flyers advertising the two cooling shelter locations to homeless residents in the Cooper Court area. We also provided PDFs to local agencies asking for help spreading the word. The response from residents was gratitude. When the weather gets this hot, it takes all hands on deck to make sure people living on the streets or in cars are getting the care they need.

Our community stepped in at a moment’s notice, and we’re grateful for all of you! The ongoing support of people across the Treasure Valley helps keep everyone safe. Many thanks to the congregation at Cathedral of the Rockies for opening up their doors in a time of need. This work takes a village and we couldn’t do it without you.