MOSES LAKE – The Homeless Taskforce of Grant County is hoping to keep its warming center open a month longer, along with extended hours.

The warming center will again be at a new location this year, moving to the former Ace Hardware building at 938 W. Broadway Ave. in Moses Lake. The center will open at its usual date of Dec. 1 and if necessary funds are raised, will remain open until March 31.

In the past, the warming center has been open through the end of February.

“Last winter the warming center served 185 individuals,” taskforce officials stated, averaging about 31 individuals each night. “Seventy-five percent of the individuals served listed the towns of Grant County as their home with the majority from Moses Lake.”

Taskforce organizers are also proposing additional opening hours, from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. seven days a week, and hiring staff to operate the warming center.

“This will allow for relationship building a connection to vital community resources,” officials stated. “To assist our homeless population, we need to build trusting relationships. When a trusting relationship is built then we can assist the individual to make small steps to improve their individual situation.”

Expenses for four months of operations is estimated at about $60,000 for the building lease, supplies and staff costs. To date, the taskforce has raised about $20,000, with the annual Sleep on the Street fundraiser returning Thursday, Oct. 25.

Donations to operate the warming center can be made on the Columbia Basin Foundation website at www.columbiabasinfoundation.org. Click on the “Donate” button and include “Homeless Taskforce” when donating.

For more information, contact warming center Director Sheila Chilson at 509-771-2361.

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