‘Makes a big difference:’ Warming shelters open when it’s 20 degrees or lower in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee officials announced a new partnership on Friday, Jan. 18 that will expand warming shelters and increase outreach to individuals in need of shelter this winter.

It's thanks to a $100,000 donation from We Energies. That money will allow Repairers of the Breach and St. Ben’s through Capuchin Community Services to shelter up to 125 single adults experiencing homelessness for overnight shelter on a walk-in basis when the temperature is 20°F or below. They previously did not open until the temperature fell to 10°F. This partnership is on top of all community emergency and warming rooms serving the homeless by referral through IMPACT 211.

Brother Bob Roemer with St. Ben's

"We have meals six nights a week here -- no questions asked. Everybody's welcome," said Brother Bob Roemer with St. Ben's. "We're open a lot more nights per winter. Last year, we were open a total of 24 nights for the whole season. This year, we expect to be 50 to 60 nights, because 10 degrees makes a big difference."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"It's all about treating people humanely and giving people respect," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

"There's something stopping them from being all they can be. We find out what that is," said James West with Repairers of the Breach. "To be able to jump from 10° to 20° is a big difference when you stay outside. We repair that breach. They can connect back to society and feel like they're an important citizen in this city."

The public can help connect individuals to their nearest warming shelters by calling 211. Organizations interested in becoming warming shelters are urged to contact the City of Milwaukee’s Continuum of Care by calling 414-286-3647.

Meanwhile, officials with Street Angels Outreach said they planned to offer transportation to shelters for those in need on Sunday night. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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