MILWAUKEE — It has been a busy winter for Milwaukee's warming centers. With the centers opening when temperatures drop to 20 degrees or lower, they are seeing more people looking for a safe place.
Previously, the centers waited until temperatures reached 10 degrees and lower. That changed thanks to a donation aimed at opening the centers sooner.
Since the temperature threshold changed, Repairers of the Breach, a shelter and warming center, has seen a growing need of shower supplies. Pastor James West, the executive director, said they are in dire need of deodorant, men's and women's underwear, and towels.
"It has been very busy, and it has been very challenging," West said.
However, the pastor said the challenges of helping more people does not faze them.
"Supplies are doubled. Heating costs are doubled, but it's all worth it. You're saving lives, and that's what matters," said West.
The shelter continues to offer a warm place to stay, shower and eat. For some people, it offers more than a roof over their head.
"Supplies are doubled. Heating costs are doubled, but it's all worth it. You're saving lives, and that's what matters." — Pastor James West, executive director of Repairers of the Breach
Jacqueline Pearson said she struggled with drugs before discovering the shelter.
"Now I'm living in a rooming house, but I'm getting my life together. It stopped me from all the drugs. It made me feel like I"m somebody," said Pearson.
After hearing a homeless man was found frozen about 10 minutes north of the shelter Sunday, West made a plea to anyone who needs a safe place to go.
"Don't try to stay out in this kind of weather. I don't care how many layers of clothes you have on. I don't care what weather you thought you stayed outside before. There are people who are opening up their doors nonjudgmental," said West.