LEWIS COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Lewis County is seeking proposals for a new warming shelter.

The County is looking for facilities in the area that could be used as a warming shelter, according to a proposal request.

“Last year was the first year we did a warming center in Lewis County,” Director of Purchasing Brian Hanno said. “We kind of did it last minute, had some great partners come together to do something. This year, we just felt due to the cost and stuff like that. It was our due diligence to put out an RFP.

This facility would offer its location and staffing when a “code blue” is activated.

Code blues are issued by the National Weather Service and Department of Social Services when temperatures drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

“In cold weather like that, people can really become hypothermic, they can die from being left out in the elements,” Lewis County DSS Commissioner Jennifer Jones expressed. “We have some really rugged people in Lewis County that are kind of afraid to ask for help. So having this location where they can just report to with really no questions asked is an option for people.”

According to Lewis County, the warming center would operate from October 1, 2023, to May 1, 2023. It would be available to those who are unsheltered due to a personal state of homelessness and do not wish to use alternate shelter resources.

“Our homeless tend to be a bit more invisible than in the urban centers because they’re in a tent someplace out in the woods,” Jones said. “But we have ways to get people to the warming center, even from the furthest parts of the county.”

However, the facility must be conducive to walkers. It also must be available seven days a week during the evening hours. Hours of operation should be a minimum of ten hours overnight.

Additional requirements are listed below:

  • Handicapped accessible
  • Provide adequate heat, utilities, phone and internet access
  • Have restroom facilities available
  • Provide chairs and room space for cots
  • Be able to offer beverages and a light meal option
  • Have kitchen-like facilities including a refrigerator, microwave, running water, sink and coffee pot

Lewis County is now accepting proposals through August 22. The successful bidder will be determined after officials evaluate all relevant criteria. The County will award the contract on September 4, 2023.

The full proposal request can be read below: