With the forecast calling for frigid temperatures starting this weekend, the City of Kalamazoo is opening a temporary warming shelter for the city’s unhoused population on Friday, Feb. 5 at 7 a.m. The warming center will be located on a city-owned parcel near the homeless encampment by Mills Street and Riverview Drive.
“Through collaboration with our community partners, including the United Way and the Kalamazoo County Continuum of Care, we were able to act quickly and stand up this temporary warming shelter to help keep these vulnerable members of our community safe and warm during these sub-zero temperatures,” said Jim Ritsema, Kalamazoo City Manager. “We are incredibly thankful that our partners and local volunteers stepped up to ensure we are able to meet the needs of our community.”
In compliance with the City’s Extreme Temperature Emergency Response Plan, the warming shelter will remain in operation as long as temperatures are below 5 degrees, or the wind chill is below zero. The temporary warming shelter will be equipped with heating and capacity to accommodate 60 people.
In addition to Kalamazoo’s temporary warming shelter on Mills Street, other community partners are assisting during this extreme cold weather event:
- The Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries continues to have capacity to house men, women and families overnight, and will open their facility during the day to provide warming areas.
- The River Church continues its daytime warming and service center on Ransom Street and will expand their services to be open on the weekend.
- Ministry with Community is providing services as a daytime warming center, including providing ‘to-go’ breakfast and lunch for those unable to enter the building due to reduced capacity in compliance with social distancing requirements.
- Integrated Services of Kalamazoo is now operating 25 rooms at the former Knights Inn and is currently serving more than 40 individuals at that location. ISK continues to work daily to prepare additional rooms for occupancy.
The warming shelter will be operational and staffed by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety 24 hours a day.