DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The city of Detroit says two warming centers have extended their hours to accommodate rising demand during the bitter cold snap, while sheriff’s deputies patrol in search of homeless people in danger of freezing.
The centers at Cass Community Social Services and Operation Get Down stayed open until noon Tuesday. A downtown warming center run by St. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church had taken in about 90 people compared with the usual 50 to 60.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon says deputies and reserves will be out in areas that homeless people frequent to provide help or rides to shelters.
The National Weather Service said Detroit’s overnight low temperature Tuesday was 1 degree — a chill especially brutal for people who don’t have a warm place to stay.
At Cass Community, shelter worker Bridgett Floyd said they serve the homeless, but also the working poor — women who are in between apartments — and it’s something they see more every year.
“I hate to see it like this because it’s all women here. We’ve got some women here with kids, we’ve got some old women here, ya know, they deserve to be in a nice, warm place,” Floyd said. “And we have to put them out. They have to leave here at 8 o’clock [in the morning].”
The shelter provides hot meals, showers, toiletries, donated clothing and a place to sleep. “It’s basically like a home but, at the same time, it’s not permanent,” Floyd said.
One woman at the shelter early Tuesday told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Ron Dewey she was a victim of domestic violence. ”I had to leave that scene, so I had to come down here to stay, until I find somewhere to stay … because nobody wants to be around anybody that’s getting beat on. And I can’t do it; I’m too old for that,” she said.
While the woman was wearing a heavy coat, a hat and gloves, she said people steal such items on days like these. She said shelters like Cass Community can always use donations of warm clothing.
Cass Community Social Services and Operation Get Down have both been designated as the city’s warming center, open through March 31. Both centers are open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. through the winter season, including holidays.
Cass Community Social Services is located at 3901 Cass Avenue, between Woodward Ave. and Second Street. The center capacity is approximately 50 beds, available for women and children only.
Operation Get Down is located at 6821 Medbury Street, between I-94 service drive and E. Grand Boulevard. This facility has a capacity of approximately 200 beds and serves women, men and children.
If the forecast calls for low temperatures of 10 degrees or lower, services will be extended to include daytime hours. Transportation to both warming centers is available.
For more information visit this link. You can contact Cass Community Social Services at 313-883-2277 or Operation Get Down at 313-921-9422.