Share Receives Holman Impact Grant to Help Fund Winter Hospitality Overflow
For those experiencing homelessness, winter is anything but magical. Individuals and families without permanent shelter or housing are incredibly vulnerable with few options to escape the cold, rainy or snowy weather and limited ways to protect themselves outside. Conditions inside a tent or a car can be unsafe, creating a heightened risk for injury and illness such as hypothermia, the flu or frostbite.
For 20 years, the Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO) program has bridged the gap between limited shelter space and the increasing number of people who seek shelter during the winter months. It was born of a partnership between Share, Council for the Homeless and the faith-based community of St. Andrew Lutheran Church.
A reflection of this true community partnership, the program has operated for many years on the financial generosity of local donors. But donations have been in decline; without additional funding, Share may not have been able to continue providing staff to support the program. So we are incredibly grateful that Share has been awarded a Holman Impact Grant with $100,000 to support the WHO in 2022, 2023 and 2024.
“We are honored to award grants simply to help organizations that make communities better. And our employees feel pride knowing that Holman supports the good work of organizations like Share,” said Steve Holman, Advisory to the Board in Community Affairs.
“At the WHO, we serve a variety of highly vulnerable clients. This program is truly a lifeline for people and families with children, so we are incredibly thankful to Holman for their support of this vital community partnership,” said Amy Reynolds, Deputy Director.
This season, 24% of all WHO clients are children and 15% of those are under age five; 45% of all adult clients identify as having a disability.
WHO operates November 1 through March 31 and serves individuals, couples and families; 30 beds are available each night. Clients receive meals, access to showers and a bed with temporary walls to provide privacy. While the main goal is to provide safe and secure shelter during the winter months, Share Housing Navigators, case managers and other support staff work with clients to address their barriers to housing and employment.
The length of stay depends on each client’s specific needs; clients can stay for one night or for the duration of the season. During the 2021-2022 season of the WHO, 201 people were served (adults and children), accounting for 127 households.
Volunteers continue to be essential for the operation of WHO, welcoming clients as they arrive, serving dinner, packing to-go lunches, cleaning and sanitizing food and sleeping areas and more. To learn more about WHO—including how to donate online or by mail—visit sharevancouver.org.