Homepage > Public Safety > Emergency Management > Emergency Cold Weather Shelter

Emergency Cold Weather Shelter

photo credit


In addition to Denver, Jefferson, and Adams Counties’ respective cold weather sheltering services, the City of Westminster provides supplemental emergency sheltering in extreme cold weather conditions for residents who may be experiencing an emergency loss of heat or lack appropriate shelter. Westminster’s emergency cold weather shelter program operates in extreme cold weather situations to augment the counties’ services for residents who are not able to access them due to mobility challenges, availability, or other extenuating circumstances. The City encourages residents to familiarize themselves with sheltering programs available in Adams and Jefferson Counties.

As part of the City’s Continuum of Compassion, our Homeless Navigator program helps distribute hotel vouchers provided by JeffCo and Adams County for people experiencing homelessness. Westminster provides additional vouchers when the weather drops below 10°F to provide additional support for our most vulnerable population. 

  • The City will activate an emergency cold weather shelter when it is projected to be zero degrees Fahrenheit or sustained windchill below zero degrees for 6 hours or more. The shelter will stay open for at least 48 hours. 

  • The shelter will be established at The MAC, located at 3295 W. 72nd Ave., Westminster, CO. 

  • The City will notify the public and target populations with 24 to 48 hours' notice via LookoutAlert and through the City’s website and social media.   

Historically, the City of Westminster has maintained informal just-in-time emergency shelter capability to assist stranded travelers or residents who may have lost heat during severe cold weather events. In response to the lessons learned from activating ad-hoc emergency cold weather shelter during extreme cold weather events last winter, the City contracted temporary staff support, developed an internal City staff support cadre, and implemented emergency shelter training as part of our comprehensive cold-weather sheltering plan. 

Shelter Basics 

  • City staff monitors reporting, alerts, and warnings provided by the National Weather Service-Boulder, Skyview, and local weather forecasters and will direct the readiness and activation of emergency shelter operations.  

  • The Fire Department maintains a trailer with cots, blankets, and other basic shelter supplies for approximately 100 people. These supplies will be deployed to recreation facilities as directed. 

  • The MAC is our primary emergency severe cold weather shelter. PRL facility supervisors are the on-scene supervisors of emergency cold weather shelter operations.  

  • The City partnered with a contractor to provide a team of five staff to handle emergency severe cold weather shelter operations. This team will be notified 24-48 hours prior to activation and will maintain emergency severe cold weather shelter operations for a minimum of 48 hours once activated. 

  • Fire and Police will support emergency severe cold weather shelter operations as needed to address health, safety, and security concerns. 

  • Residents who are experiencing medical or mental challenges will be directed to the nearest emergency room (ER). In Westminster, residents will be directed to St. Anthony's North Family Medicine on 84th Avenue or St. Anthony's North Hospital at 144th Avenue and Huron Street. If someone is at the shelter with a health emergency, the Fire Department may transport them via ambulance to the hospital. 

  • City staff may be called upon to supplement PRL and contract staff if needed. In the event of a major community disaster such as fire, flood, or hazardous materials event that displaces residents, COW staff may be needed to support no-notice shelter activations that could be needed for several days.