With historic flooding, winds, and cold weather continuing to batter the Bay Area, and no relief in sight, you may be wondering how those without homes, living in their cars, in tents, or just wrapped in blankets and shivering are doing. As you can imagine, homelessness creates miserable, inhuman conditions in all seasons, and in a storm, it can be even more dangerous. GRIP is helping.
The Greater Richmond Interfaith Program is part of a countywide effort to locate and shelter vulnerable individuals during this historic weather event. Individuals and families should contact 211 for transportation and shelter placement. Please also share the “211” number with those you encounter on the street or in camps who need a warm, dry place for the night. It can be dialed free from a payphone or cell phone.
The latest predictions from the National Weather Service call for up to 3 inches of rain before Tuesday, on top of record rain earlier this month. And a lot of that rain will be coming in sideways.
The wind forecast calls for peak gusts above 50 miles per hour. Besides the obvious danger of toppling trees in the already saturated soil, and ripping limbs, many of the housing insecure population around our region lives in tents or uses tarps, including those living in RVs and cars using tarps to provide some degree of watertight protection. Those tarps are getting ripped to shreds in the high winds, or blowing away completely. Tents are being damaged, and those without tents are even more exposed.
If you see people in need of help, don’t hesitate to call 911 for emergencies and for sheltering needs, 211 is the number to use. 2‑1‑1 is available in multiple languages, and not only provides help finding shelter, but also access to information and referrals to physical and mental health resources; housing, utility, food, and employment assistance; and suicide and crisis interventions. For the general public, 2‑1‑1 also provides disaster preparedness, response, and recovery during declared emergencies. Online 211 help is available here.
Call 211 or (800) 830-5380
Or, via SMS, you can text your zip code to 898-211
For those wishing to volunteer during these challenging times, GRIP always welcomes you. Call our office at (510) 233-2141 to volunteer, or see what supplies and materials you can drop off. We always have need of toiletries for our shower program, and clean socks, underwear, feminine products like tampons and pads, and of course warm jackets, sleeping bags, and duffle bags.
Thank you to all who are already helping GRIP help those in need.