Updated: December 06, 2021 06:26 PM
Created: December 06, 2021 04:02 PM
With this recent cold snap, many of us have been cranking up the heat at home. But for those without a home, staying warm this time of year can be a matter of life and death.
"We had 61 people check in over the course of last night, which is an alarming number for this time of year," said Warming Center Coordinator Joel Kilgour. "I don’t think we were hitting those numbers till the really deep cold in January last year, and we know that there are dozens of people still living outside. So there are definitely going to be more people coming in."
The increase in individuals eexperiencing homelessness has been a trend for the past decade.
"In 2020, we counted 284 people living outside in St. Louis county, most of them living in Duluth," explained Kilgour. "Last season, the 2020-2021 season at the warming center, 566 unique individuals came through the warming center."
While the warming center is a great resource, it is only open from 8pm to 8am.
"CHUM is also open, and they don’t turn anyone away for lack of space," said Kilgour. "The drop-in center at CHUM also stays open in the evenings as a warming center, so you don’t get a bed, but you can come in and stay warm. So we will make space, but I do worry because we are already at our capacity here."
CHUM is actively seeking donations to help those experiencing homelessness avoid the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Gloves, socks, and hand warmers are all currently out of stock at the warming center.
Since the warming center is a shared location, donations have to be made to the food shelf downtown location. Food can be donated to either the West Duluth or Downtown Food Shelf locations. Volunteers are also needed.
The donation hours can be found at this website.
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