The life-saving seasonal shelter provided at Interfaith Works Empowerment Center at Progress Place in Silver Spring was highlighted in a recent report by WAMU-FM reporter Armando Trull.

With the dangerously cold temperatures the area is enduring, coming inside literally is a matter of life and death for men and women who typically are outside experiencing homelessness.

IW Case Manager Vanessa Rocha said, “We just try to give them a warm, safe place to be and meet them where they are, wherever they are.”

Trull interviewed client Ernest, who said, “If we weren’t in this building we might be out there trying to find a place to go,” places like abandoned buildings or McDonald’s.

IW program director Kacy Barker noted that IW is part of a network of partners who provide safe shelter in weather extremes in the DC region. The IW seasonal overnight shelter program at Progress Place, which is first-come, first-served, has been serving more than 60 men and women each night in recent weeks. The service is basic but essential. They bag up their belongings and label them, and sleep on mats on the floor. The center served 120 people during Christmas Day, when temperatures were dangerously cold.

Thank you to Armando and to WAMU-FM for drawing attention to this important issue.

Interfaith Works is an vital partner in the “Inside/Not Outside” campaign to end chronic homelessness in Montgomery County by early 2018. Our permanent supportive housing programs move vulnerable men and women off the street and into housing where they are safe and can move forward to address their needs.

We need your help. These men and women moving typically have next to nothing — just the clothes they are wearing and perhaps a few personal items. We are seeking Welcome Baskets of essentials to help with the moves; see a list of needs here. We also welcome donations of very gently used furniture and small household items. If you can help, please contact Farha Mowlana, fmowlana@iworksmc.org, 301.770.2413 ext. 115. Thank you!