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Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry (WARM)

Mission: Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry (WARM) is a Christian community showing Christ’s love through shelter and support to the homeless.

Community Need: WARM began as faith communities coming together to address the unmet needs of the homeless. It expanded to more ecumenical and community-based programs that welcome all community members. It exists to provide adults and children experiencing homelessness with the support and services needed to regain stability. The needs that accompany homelessness have been identified by various community assessments.  Augusta Health’s most recent assessment showed that “ … health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities;… and the nature of our social interactions and relationships.” The services and programs provided by WARM are a community response and intervention to individuals and families living in poverty, facing food insecurity, stressed by housing insecurity, and addressing unemployment and/or the lack of high school diploma or adequate training/education.

Recent assessment completed by CAPSAW and the City of Waynesboro show that the number of individuals and families living in poverty in the community has increased. For Waynesboro, it is nearly 16% by some counts and 18% by others. The public schools face a growing number of students in poverty as well. Waynesboro Public Schools report nearly 60% of students as eligible for free and reduced lunch indicating household under the Federal Poverty Level. Each number represents the individuals and families served by WARM or the ones who are in imminent risk and may need their services in the future.

Constituents Served: Adults within each program’s targeted population who lack a fixed overnight residence or who are in crisis, and will imminently be homeless, may participate in WARM’s programs. Specifically, the targeted population for the transitional housing program (Ruth’s WARM House) is homeless women with at least one child who is legally in their custody or care. The targeted population for their winter emergency shelter, the WARM Cold Weather Shelter, is homeless adults, without accompanying children, who are in need of shelter and food during the coldest months of the year. Program participants are from Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. They include those who cannot be served at Valley Mission, at their time of entry, and those from neighboring areas that do not have an active homeless services programs such as Highland County.  In 2017, Ruth’s WARM House served 16 women and 30 children. The ages ranged from newborns to 17 and 24-55.  The WARM Cold Weather Shelter served 135 whose ages ranged from 18-71.

Primary Activities: WARM provides critical shelter and support to homeless adults and households with homeless children who live in poverty in the community. The services are delivered through a winter emergency shelter and temporary housing for homeless women with children. WARM’s patrons do not have the financial resources to maintain stable housing at program entrance and typically still qualify for low-income housing assistance at exit. The programs also work with members who are in imminent risk of homelessness and lack adequate financial resources and support to maintain housing stability.

Amount Requested: $5,000

Operating Budget: $245,170

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