Out of the Cold: Warming Shelter Opens as High Desert Sees Temperatures Drop
Posted in the Daily Press – November 28, 2017
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VICTORVILLE — Those seeking shelter from the cold will have a place to stay thanks to the County of San Bernardino.
Jimmy Waldron, executive director of High Desert Home Services, said three military-style tents soon will be erected at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville to shelter 75 individuals nightly when temperatures drop below 40 degrees.
Waldron, whose organization is taking the financial and managing lead in operating this year’s Victor Valley Community Warming Shelter, said that 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood’s office was instrumental in providing the tents.
“The tents should arrive sometime Monday or Tuesday, and hopefully the wind won’t hinder them going up,” Waldron said. “The fairgrounds are allowing us to use a couple of buildings over the next two nights if the tents aren’t ready in time.”
The three 400-square-foot tents will be situated on the east end of the fairgrounds near Loves Lane, with a temporary power pole installed to supply electricity for lights and heaters. Temporary fencing will surround the site, which also will include portable bathroom facilities.
Volunteers will be needed to set up the tent site, along with “volunteer teams” who will oversee the warming shelters for several hours between sunset and sunrise, Waldron said.
The shelter is also in need of several items, such as jackets, backpacks, socks, coffee, powder creamer, sugar, hot cocoa, single-serve/microwavable oatmeal and heat-and-serve soups.
The opening of the warming shelter comes as strong winds and lows ranging from 30 to 35 degrees began making their way into the High Desert on Monday.
Victor Valley Rescue Mission Director Bill Edwards told the Daily Press that Waldron and his group asked Edwards if they could “bear the burden” of running this year’s warming shelter.
“We’ve been running the warming shelter for years, and it’s a blessing that Jimmy and his team asked to spearhead the project that will help the needy from November to mid-March,” Edwards said. “Running the warming shelter takes a lot of work and we appreciate their help.”
Before news of the tents, the VVRM was scrambling to raise $7,900 to transport modular buildings from down the hill to the fairgrounds. The group also was trying to raise $25,000 for the rental of the buildings and another $4,000 to have them returned in the spring.
Last summer, a fire at the fairgrounds destroyed the Choice Medical Group Building, which had been used for various fair-related activities and to shelter those from the cold.
Waldron said the Rescue Mission is still attempting to raise funds to obtain modular buildings that will be utilized as a warming shelter and cooling center during hot weather.
For more information on volunteer opportunities, donations or the shelter, call
760-420-6980 or visit www.facebook.com/vvcommunitywarmingshelter/.