New warming center for homeless population operates at J.P. Jones Center
The Fairbanks Reentry Coalition now operates a new warming facility at the J.P. Jones Center in Fairbanks. The warming center allows for homeless persons in Fairbanks to get out of the cold and rest while being offered a meal.
According to Linda Setterberg, Reentry Services Director with the coalition, the warming center, which opened on March 31st, was meant to supplement services provided by No Limits, a nonprofit in town.
“They started seeing a lot more people, because other things in town were closed down, places for people to get warm. So we were asked by the Housing and Homeless Coalition to start a warming center,” Setterberg said.
The J.P. Jones Center is providing the space for free, and a volunteer cook prepares sack lunches for clients using food donations from the Fairbanks Community Food Bank.
Staffing for the warming center is coming from the coalition’s The Bridge and encampment outreach programs. “Because other things are closed in our agency, we were able to redirect staff,” Setterberg said.
Clients of the new warming center are screened for COVID-19 at the door, and are not allowed in if they display symptoms, instead being encouraged to go to the hospital.
Since it began operation, it is estimated that the warming center has hosted 55 individuals.
The warming center is open from 1-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is a capacity to host 10 clients at a time, but meals are able to be distributed outside. Setterberg said most days the center is operating at capacity.