For more than 20 years the Father McKenna Center has responded to the needs of homeless men for a safe environment for them during the cold nights of winter. The Hypothermia Program opens on November 1 and continues every night until March 31. The Shelter offers the men an opportunity for a shower, an evening meal (prepared and served by members of the Gonzaga Mothers’ Club and their families) and time to work on their personal plan or to socialize. The program opens at 5:30 pm daily and the men are invited to leave at 6:30 am (on the coldest days they are allowed to remain in the Day Shelter).
Participation in the Hypothermia Program is by application, and each applicant must submit to a background check. The Hypothermia Program is limited to 20 men. Each applicant is interviewed and approved for participation in the Hypothermia Program based on an assessment of their preparedness to use the time in the Hypothermia Program to move toward the next step for them, be it a job, a temporary or permanent housing situation, or stability on the road to sobriety or mental health.
In 2014-15 we served a total of 33 men in the Hypothermia Program, and of those 24 had very positive outcomes (a job, a place to stay, reconnection with family or admission to treatment program).
In 2015-2016 Dennis Dee, the Assistant Case Manager at the Father McKenna Center, will serve as the Hypothermia Coordinator and work with the men for several hours each evening. This is intended to keep them on the path to their personal goal for the program.