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Winter shelter in the works for homeless women
Reach Out Federal Way, a homeless advocacy organization, plans to open a winter shelter for homeless women in South King County.
“We need to get the women off the streets in the winter,” said Nancy Jaenicke, volunteer coordinator for Reach Out, which launched in 2008. “There’s really no women’s shelter south of Burien.”
Reach Out already serves dozens of homeless adults each winter. From November through the end of March, the non-profit organization provides a warm place to sleep, a hot dinner, a cold breakfast and sack lunch each day to homeless men. Reach Out teams up with Federal Way churches along with volunteers who donate thousands of dollars worth of time and money.
Many of Reach Out’s homeless clients are eventually connected with jobs and housing.
Administered through Catholic Community Services King County, Reach Out plans to spread these same services to adult homeless women. The organization secured a $3,000 grant from the city and needs to raise up to $90,000 before next winter, Jaenicke said.
To raise money for operating the shelters, Reach Out hosts the annual Hoofing it for the Homeless walk. Mayor Skip Priest is scheduled to speak at this year’s kick-off at 10 a.m. June 18 at Calvary Lutheran Church, located at South 320th Street and Gateway Center Boulevard. Megan Johnson, the Washington State Jefferson Award winner and an advocate for the homeless, is scheduled to be at Steel Lake Park where the walkers end their 5-mile walk between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Look for the bright yellow T-shirts and signs and follow the crowd.
In the January 2011 homeless count, volunteers across King County scoured highway underpasses, wooded areas and parking lots to take a census of the region’s homeless population. A total of 2,442 homeless were counted this year, compared to 2,759 in 2010 and 2,827 in 2009. In Federal Way, 124 were counted this year, compared to 181 in 2010. It is unclear how many of these homeless people are women.
To learn more about Reach Out Federal Way, contact Nancy Jaenicke at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 927-5548.