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Homeless shelter volunteers still needed in city of Sunnyside

Volunteers are needed for two temporary homeless shelters in Sunnyside.

"We've had three training classes but don't have near the response from the community that we need to move forward," said Dave Hanson, who coordinates Yakima cold weather shelters for the Homeless Network of Yakima County. "I still need at least 20 more volunteers to start the (Sunnyside) shelters."

All volunteers are required to attend a 90-minute training session.

Trainings are scheduled for this Saturday, Jan. 9, at 10 a.m., and on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. All training sessions are held at the First Christian Church, located at 321 S. Eighth St. in Sunnyside.

Hanson is seeking volunteers to staff shelters overnight, oversee registrations, help with scheduling and to deliver donated meals.

"Once I reach 50 people, I will open," said Hanson.

Two churches, the First Christian and Free Methodist, have agreed to open their doors to the homeless at night through February.

Hanson is the Executive Director of Sunrise Outreach. The ministry also maintains four cold-weather shelters in Yakima. January's 2009 Point-In-Time survey revealed a spike in the homeless rate in Sunnyside, the county's second-largest city.

Sunnyside's homeless population went from 219 in 2008 to 498 in 2009. Yakima registered with 418.

For more information about volunteering, contact Sunrise Outreach at 509-225-9310.

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