- Our Winter Process -
- Activation -
While we'd love to be out every night, our resources are limited. Over the years, we've tried out different temperatures, conditions, and used multiple other factors to determine our temperature guidelines that we follow. Please see below for how to "accurately" predict whether or not we'll need you as a volunteer on any given night.
WE ARE ACTIVATED IF...
Temperature is predicted to be < or = to 20 degrees.
Temperature is predicted to be < or = to 25 degrees WITH precipitation (sleet, snow, etc.)
Nightly outreach facilitator has posted to Facebook that "Outreach is a go."
Your facilitator (shelter, shuttle, outreach) has confirmed "it is a go" and has asked for your assistance.
WE ARE NOT ACTIVATED IF...
Temperature is predicted to be > 20 degrees.
Temperature is predicted to be > 25 degrees WITH precipitation (sleet, snow, etc.)
Nightly outreach facilitator has NOT posted to Facebook that "Outreach is a go."
Your facilitator (shelter, shuttle, outreach) has contacted you saying that you can stay home tonight and rest up for the next time.
You've heard nothing. Stay home and rest!
- Team Approach -
St. Louis Winter Outreach works to protect those who live on the streets of St. Louis City during harsh and dangerous winter conditions by utilizing three teams of volunteers: Outreach, Shuttling, and Emergency Shelters. There are "Facilitators" (group leaders) who are responsible for ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of each team on their assigned night throughout the winter season.
For all-year opportunities, there are options to work with an advocacy team or spend some time helping out with our Assisi Houses as needed. For descriptions of these teams and to send an email inquiry about volunteering, see below.
The "shuttlers" are a few of our crew that meet at a designated location in order to transport groups of individuals to our emergency shelters. These volunteers use their personal vehicles or vans donated for an evening by organizations and churches for transport. Vans are preferred, but not required.
Shuttlers meet at 5:30pm at the south side of 13th & Market, near the statue of Pierre Laclède. This is the location those seeking shelter are picked up from, and transported to the open partner shelters. Facilitators will assign you a shelter drop-off, and organizers will let those seeking shelter know when it is time to load.
Street outreachers are the group of our crew that search the streets of St. Louis for the most vulnerable population of the unhoused to offer to bring them to an emergency shelter. If our emergency shelters are full, this crew offers blankets, hats, gloves, and other necessary items to survive the frigid night on the street. Volunteers use their personal vehicles. Mid-size sedans are best for this work, although Teka Childress volunteers with her Fiat!
Volunteers should arrive at 6:30pm for a pre-outreach meeting at Mokabe's Coffeehouse (address below). Street outreach typically lasts for approximately 2 to 3 hours depending on the number of outreachers, bad weather, and multiple other factors.
3606 Arsenal Street
St. Louis, MO 63116
Our emergency shelters are made possible by partnerships with local churches and organizations to provide shelter to guests. Each of our shelters varies by operation and size, but all have an incredible level of compassion for this work. Shuttle and Outreach teams work hand-in-hand with our shelter partners over the course of an evening we are activated.
The shelters typically offer various shifts for volunteers, including:
Greeting & Sign-In of Guests
Shelter shifts last 3-4 hours, excluding overnight shifts (shelter-dependent). Shift times are shelter-dependent. Our emergency shelter coordinator can pair you with a shelter that needs you and takes into account your availability as a volunteer.
A few of our group are deeply involved with volunteering in order to produce policy change, increase the public's education about homelessness & its many causes, and fighting for the basic human rights of those who are unhoused. Advocacy is an all-season process which reaches outside the winter months.
Somewhere along the way, Winter Outreach's work spawned what we call Assisi Houses. Assisi Houses are buildings-turned-residences for a few unhoused persons each winter season. For some, it becomes their permanent home. See our Assisi House website (or our page on this site) for more information.