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Homeless man's death highlights shelter crisis in Kenosha

Posted at 10:18 PM, Dec 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 09:05:00-05

A homeless man's death shows a major gap in services in Kenosha. There are no emergency shelters for just anyone to go to to get out of the cold.

First Step Shelter shut down in May. It was a low-barrier shelter, meaning there were no restrictions on past criminal records, drug or alcohol use. If you needed help you could come in. When it closed it left many people who use it scrambling.

Darryl "Joe" Peddicord, 49, was a familiar face on the streets of Kenosha, often waiting for food from a woman who cooked for the homeless.

"She doesn't ask any questions, she knows our situation," said Peddicord told TODAY'S TMJ4 in October.

He told TODAY'S TMJ4 he lived on the streets. His good friend slept in a dog house. Together they watched out for each other.

He used to go to First Step Shelter when it got cold, but it shut down in May.  Police found Peddicord dead in a used car lot two weeks ago, on a very cold night.

"He was trying to get shelter in a car, in a used car lot and didn't make it," said Pastor Justin Lowe.

The coroner's office said Peddicord's death is still under investigation.  

Pastor Lowe is the spokesperson for the Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) and their homeless task force.  The group is made up of area churches in Kenosha.  CUSH is calling on the city to open an emergency shelter.  

Right now, the only option is the Shalom Center, which does house the homeless but has a lot of restrictions on who is allowed in because they also accept children.

"So we end up with a small population of people who are outside," Lowe said.

CUSH has come up with some options for other emergency shelters but so far the city has not approved any special licenses.

"This is a crisis and we need a shelter for this season," Lowe said. "Ultimately people perishing, freezing on our streets and that is totally unacceptable."

There is going to be a service for Peddicord this Friday.

CUSH said they are going keep lobbying the city until there is some sort of emergency shelter in place.