Local governments and organizations throughout Kalamazoo County continue to respond to help those in need during this extreme cold weather.
Three warming shelters remain open 24-hours and will remain open through at least Saturday morning. The warming shelters are located at The Douglass Community Association at 1000 West Patterson Street and the First Baptist Church and the First Congregational Church in downtown Kalamazoo. During this cold spell the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission will remain open 24/7 and has room to accept more individuals.
Approximately 120 people were served at the three warming shelters last night. Officers from the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage Public Safety departments helped to staff the warming shelters.
The Portage Community Outreach Center located at 325 E. Centre will be open today as a warming center from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and has capacity for 50 drop ins. Meals are not served but hot coffee will be available. The Center will be open on Thursday, January 31st from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well and may be reached at (269) 323-1942.
Pets are allowed at the First Baptist Church and the First Congregational Church warming shelters, but not The Douglass Community Center. In the event someone is looking for emergency housing for their pet during the weather emergency in Kalamazoo County, they should contact Consolidated Dispatch with their request (269) 488-8911 (select option #1). Consolidated Dispatch will contact the Animal Services On-call Officer and provide their name and phone number for him/her to call back. The officer will be able to assess the needs, number and species of animals, and explain that this is short term emergency housing. The officer will then make the arrangements to either meet them at the shelter or pick up the animals from their location. Please note that this is short term housing and the animals will need to be picked up from Animal Services by Monday, February 4 at the latest.
Individuals needing transportation to a warming shelter may call Consolidated Dispatch at (269) 488-8911(select option #1) or call 2-1-1 for assistance.
Community members who wish to donate food, supplies, or volunteer may call (269) 501-3750, stop in to any of the four warming shelters to help, or contact the Red Cross.
Local officials are in conversations with area philanthropic funders, including the United Way, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, and the Local Initiative Support Corporation, who have indicated their support of this effort and willingness to assist as needed to ensure that everyone is safe during this extreme cold, and that no one has to sleep outside.