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Avivo provides emergency shelter for 32 during dangerous cold

Dangerous cold was on the way to Minnesota in early February and Avivo’s housing teams knew beds at traditional shelters would run out quickly. With temperatures heading into the double digits below zero, a range where frostbite can occur within minutes, a quick response was needed to create emergency shelter to keep people safe.

“It’s just not a livable temperature. It’s not safe to be outside,” shares Justin LaBeaux, Avivo’s street outreach and navigation program manager. “We needed to act quickly to keep anyone who wanted to come inside safe.”

“It’s just not a livable temperature. It’s not safe to be outside … We needed to act quickly to keep anyone who wanted to come inside safe.”

Starting the night of Friday, February 5, Avivo opened additional space in a hotel that’s part of our Hotels to Home program as emergency shelter for the duration of the February cold snap, which lasted nearly two weeks.

“Once the established shelter systems were full, our space was operating as an emergency shelter,” shares LaBeaux. “If an individual didn’t have any options, [their call] would be transferred to my phone and we’d check room availability.”

During that time, Avivo worked with Adult Shelter Connect and United Way’s 2-1-1 service to provide a warm bed for 32 individuals. Staff worked with individuals to get them a ride to the hotel and set them up safely in a room.

Adding 32 individuals to staff’s caseload brought out the best in Avivo. A call for help was sent out, looking for Avivo staff members who could help cover the additional 24/7 shifts needed to make this emergency shelter happen. Response was incredible and included shelter staff volunteering to work overtime as well as staff from different divisions taking shifts.

“This was an example of Avivo responding to community need in the time of an emergency … Seeing staff from across multiple divisions step up was really inspiring.”

As temperatures warmed, individuals were given the option of being connected with shelter. Some individuals chose to enter Avivo’s treatment programs, and others were referred to Avivo Village for possible housing.

“This was an example of Avivo responding to community need in the time of an emergency,” shares Emily Bastian, Avivo’s vice president of ending homelessness. “Seeing staff from across multiple divisions step up was really inspiring.”

 

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