Sign of spring: Port Townsend shelter closes for the season

PORT TOWNSEND —Jefferson County’s emergency winter shelter for the homeless has packed up for the season and won’t be back until late this year.

The exact date the shelter will reopen hasn’t been decided, but organizers are optimistic that the 2008 start date may be earlier than it the Nov. 26 reopening in 2007.

“We have a lot of groups who are interested in getting involved next time around,” said Kim Hammers, one of the shelter organizers.

“That will help us stay open longer through the cold months.”

Hammers and other volunteers spent Saturday morning packing away supplies, cleaning the floors and returning the basement of the Marvin G. Shields American Legion Post, on Water and Monroe streets in downtown Port Townsend, to the condition in which they found it before the shelter opened.

Hammers credited the volunteers and organizations who have supported the shelter with making the winter successful.

“This year went very well,” said Carl Hanson, minister of Port Townsend Church of Christ.

“We had the guests helping out and cleaning up and making sure that we got out of the building on time every morning.

“It shows appreciation for what everyone is doing.”

Hanson spent the night with the guests who occupied the shelter as a volunteer throughout the winter. He missed a few evenings one week because of illness.

The next week, he saw a frequent shelter visitor on the street.

“He told me that they missed me and they would love to have me come back,” Hanson said.

“It’s more like I am the guest here.”

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