What This Extreme Cold Means For Milwaukee's Homeless

Jan 29, 2019

Milwaukee residents are facing dangerously cold temperatures. And organizations that serve the homeless population are taking action.

The high Tuesday is only expected to reach 2 above zero, with wind chills from 15 to 25 below. A wind chill warning takes effect at 6 p.m., and we could see an overnight low of 21 below zero — with a wind chill as low as 45 below.

READ: Wisconsin Governor Declares State Of Emergency

Wendy Weckler, of Hope House and the Shelter Task Force, is working with the Continuum of Care (COC), a consortium of homeless service providers, to help the most vulnerable people through this cold blast.

"Generally, the best place [for homeless people] to access the system overall would be to call 211," says Weckler. "It's run through Impact, and it's a coordinated entry system for homeless services. 211 will find out where there is space available for warming, and will work to dispatch a group like the Street Angels to pick people up and take them to the shelter."

She says the Milwaukee COC has been working really hard to make sure everyone is reached.

"They're working with all the volunteer outreach groups, the funded outreach groups, the county outreach workers," Weckler says.

Also, she says the COC is working to ensure transport to warming centers and that it has extra warming centers open.

"They've all been open as many days as they can," she adds.

The COC can use donations, volunteers for warming shelters, and more. Weckler says food, blankets, cots, whatever people can provide, would be helpful.

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"I know that St. Bens in particular has been looking for people to volunteer overnights, to just sit there and make sure everything stays going well," she adds.

Lyft, in partnership with United Way and Wisconsin 211, is providing two free rides (up to $25 each) to warming centers. Use code WIJAYDEN19. The code is valid until Friday, Feb. 1 at 11:59 p.m.