What is WATTS?

WATTS is a non-profit, charitable organization (501c3) that provides a safe, temporary, overnight, cold-weather shelter for homeless guests at host sites in Winchester, Frederick and Clarke Counties, Virginia. Established in 2009 WATTS has grown from hosting homeless guests for 10 weeks to hosting our guests for a 20 week period during the months of November through March.

Why is this shelter necessary?

This shelter is needed to extend current ministries to the chronically homeless in our community, reaching out to a growing and more diverse population.  Homeless persons who are not able to be served overnight by other community agencies will be welcomed by WATTS.  Local media continue to highlight the changing face of homelessness and the impact of a challenging economy.  We believe it is essential to not only respond to what is happening now but also to prepare for what will be in the future.

How is this shelter governed?

A Board of Directors of local church leaders, pastors, and community representatives governs WATTS as a 501c3 non-profit, charitable organization.

Is this an original idea?

While a temporary, thermal shelter was a recent idea in 2009 within the Winchester/Frederick/Clarke County area, similar shelters exist in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Richmond, and in other parts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as throughout the nation.

Where is the WATTS shelter housed each night?

Faith communities and local service organizations make a commitment to host shelter guests for one week at a time, beginning on Monday evening and concluding on the following Monday morning.  The host  and other community partners also provide a healthy, nutritious dinner and a light breakfast  each day.

Who staffs the shelter?

Two paid, trained night managers staff the shelter each evening.  In addition, each faith community provides a daily team of volunteers (approximately 10-12 people), who furnish the meals, offer optional evening activities, and spend the night (two volunteers) and, as required, assist with guest transportation at county host sites.

When does the shelter operate?

WATTS now operates for 20 consecutive weeks during the months of November through March. Guests arrive and are registered at 7:00 p.m. each night and departed by 7:00 a.m. the following morning.  Please see our shelter schedule section of this website for current shelter information.

Is WATTS restricted to faith based communities in downtown Winchester?

Not at all!  WATTS serves as a healthy bridge between faith communities and service organizations in Winchester, Frederick and Clarke Counties.  Host and partner groups are in Winchester, Frederick and Clarke Counties.

How is the shelter funded?

Faith communities, businesses, and service organizations of our area, along with many benevolent individuals, provide the necessary funding, along with offerings of time, talent, and gifts-in-kind.  100% of all donations go directly to WATTS operations.

What is the anticipated annual budget?

The annual budget for fiscal 2017 is $151,405. This covers the costs for manager staffing, cots and equipment, computer and telephone expense, transportation of guests to out of city shelters, insurance  and various administrative expenses. The cost to host a guest is $30 per night.

What are the continuing needs?

Monetary donations; volunteer hours; committee members; and much, much more!