Wausau Warming Shelter extends hours due to extreme cold temperatures

Published: Jan. 9, 2022 at 9:09 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau Warming Shelter, located inside First United Methodist Church, will be extending its hours starting Sunday night. They’ll be open Sunday night until Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.

The change is for people experiencing homelessness to have shelter from the extreme cold temperatures. The Wausau shelter coordinator said it’s likely they’ll extend beyond capacity Sunday night.

This year they’ve seen an increase of people overall, but harsh weather is skyrocketing attendance. Saturday night they had 32 guests and Sunday night they anticipate more. That mean’s they’ll have to have some guests sleep in the hallways.

“We will do whatever it takes if somebody comes to our door to find a way to get them in out of the cold,” said Bob Grady, Wausau Warming Shelter Coordinator.

With negative-degree temperatures, Grady said it’s important for anyone to feel welcome.

“This type of cold is the type of stuff you’ll dye in. I mean it’s not just uncomfortable it’s lethal,” said Grady.

It’s considered a low-barrier shelter. That means no background checks are required. Grady said a person’s mental health also does not play a factor in their ability to use the shelter.

“Everybody should be treated equally, nobody should be out in the cold,” said Grady.

Hundreds of volunteers have been working hard to navigate busy times. They assist in doing laundry, cooking meals, checking in guests and more.

“If it was not for the volunteers, we would not exist,” said Grady.

They are currently looking for volunteers. You can get more information about helping out here. They also are in need of donations. A few items they need are bottled water, gloves, women’s winter jackets, large-sized shoes, and tissues. For a list of more items, you can donate, click here.

“Anybody who may be experiencing homelessness tonight, or you know somebody, please again tell them that this is a safe haven, it’s someplace they can come without risk of being judged,” said Grady.

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