MILWAUKEE — With wind chills below zero tonight, Milwaukee shelters are preparing to keep people warm.
"We are ready, willing and able to help them and we're anxious to get them off the street," said President of Milwaukee Rescue Mission Pat Vanderburgh.
Vanderburgh said the Milwaukee Rescue Mission has been hosting on average 200 people per night.
Repairers of the Breach also shelter dozens of people a night during the winter. Executive Director Pastor James West said people often come in unprepared for the weather.
"No winter hat, scarf or gloves, icicles hanging from their beards. It's a lot," Pastor West said.
It can be a challenge making sure that everyone that needs a warm, safe space has one. That's been made even harder during the pandemic.
"As you can imagine in a shelter, in a congregation shelter, it's really, really challenging to keep people safe from the cold and also physically well," Vanderburgh said.
Pastor West said, "What's important right now is keeping people safe from dying and then keeping people safe from getting sick from the COVID."
Pastor West said those that stay with them must wear a mask inside.
It's not just those without a home that nee community support in the winter. Waukesha officials are reminding residents to check in on elderly neighbors.
"Make sure they have heating in their home, that they're not going to be outside trying to shovel or (be) exposed (to) those really cold temperatures. We don't want them going out. Make sure they have food, water, and their pipes aren't freezing," said Waukesha County Emergency Management Coordinator Gail Goodchild.