Warming shelter opens in Lewiston

Samantha Skinner

Community cooperation has quickly borne fruit, with a temporary overnight warming shelter opening this week for homeless adults in the area.

First Step 4 Life, a local nonprofit addiction and mental health resource center, has volunteered its new location, at 1002 Idaho St. in Lewiston, for overnight stays after officials there met with other local nonprofit and government agencies to fill the hole left when the ROC rescue mission in North Lewiston closed earlier this year.

According to an email from Twin County United Way Executive Director Samantha Skinner, the center changed to 24-hour-per-day operations Wednesday to accommodate adults on an overnight basis. The all-day hours will last through the end of February.

Skinner said it took a true community effort to get things started, and it will take even more good will to keep it going. Retired Lewiston pediatrician John Rusche has donated $5,000 to support the effort and will assist in raising more money. Wells Fargo is willing to be a drop-off and storage location for donated supplies, Community Action Partnership will assist in securing some needed supplies and food, and the Lewiston Corps of the Salvation Army will assist with food, water and guidance on shelter operations.

Current volunteers at First Step 4 Life will help staff the overnight hours, and lend their mental health and first-aid training. Skinner wrote that the center has enough volunteers to cover operations through this weekend, but more will be needed.

Those who would like to get involved or ask questions may call Jamie Varney at (208) 717-3881. Overnight shifts run from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., and outside belongings will be stored in totes, locked up overnight and returned in the morning. Visitors will also be able to set up appointments with the center’s recovery coaches, peer supports and its case manager during daytime hours for additional support or services.

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