Sunnyvale shelter from cold for homeless opens with kitchen, showers, laundry facilities

- Some relief from the frigid temperatures for homeless individuals in the South Bay, as Santa Clara County opens up a brand new shelter in Sunnyvale. It's located on Hamlin Court and is part of the county's cold weather shelter program. The first person in line arrived at 11:30 a.m. and the shelter opened at 5 p.m.
               
Bundled up in layers with belongings in tow, they stood in line for hours all to have a warm place for the night.

"It's cold," said Tony Picket who is homeless. "It's hard to explain unless you've been there."

The homeless individuals who waited in line are among the 6,000 homeless people throughout the county. Many of them sleep on bus line 22 and in parks but not Monday night.

Once a county-owned warehouse, the new shelter in Sunnyvale is now refurbished with a kitchen, showers and for the first time, a laundry facility. It will house 125 homeless people every winter. The Sunnyvale Armory closed in 2013..

"This is awesome," said Annamarie Thomas who is homeless. "It's all brand new. There were no mirrors in the other one. It was an old armory."

Andrea Urton with HomeFirst said 61 homeless people died last year in Santa Clara County. She said, this year has been especially tragic.

"So far, this year we've had nine murders in the homeless community and only one of them has been solved so we know homelessness is dangerous," said HomeFirst CEO Andrea Urton.

With temperatures expected to dip in the 30s and low 40s this week, many of them call the shelter a blessing.

"I know what it's like to be out there and I know what it's like to be in here," said Darlene Stone who works the shelter.

Darlene Stone was once a client. She's now on the other end working at the shelter to give back.

"I wanted to let the people know they do have a chance," said Stone. "You don't have to always be out there. If you work at it, you can get yourself up."

The shelter in Sunnyvale will stay open until March. Cold weather shelters in Gilroy will open on Wednesday, when it could hit below 38 degrees signaling an inclement weather warning.
 

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