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Warming shelter expanding hours

Warming shelter expanding hours

The Salvation Army and its community partners are looking to expand access to its warming shelter this winter.

The organization opened the warming shelter three years ago as a way to provide emergency refuge for the local homeless population on the most frigid of Minnesota nights — specifically when wind chills dropped below -25 degrees for a sustained period.

Now, in response to increased demand for shelter, the Salvation Army is adjusting its threshold to better serve the homeless. This winter it plans to open its doors any night the temperature drops below zero. Doing so will triple the number of days it's open.

To accommodate the expanded service, the Salvation Army is hoping to recruit a volunteer base of about 200 people. It will host two volunteer orientation sessions on Monday, Dec. 11 for those willing to help out at the warming shelter this winter.

"It's a community problem that requires a community response," the Salvation Army's Alex Hurlebaus said in an interview Wednesday.

The warming shelter is a collaboration of multiple organizations: the Salvation Army, Olmsted County, Zumbro Valley Health Center and Catholic Charities. The goal is to eventually operate a facility that is open every day November through March, said Hurlebaus.

At last tally, there were 68 people living on the streets of Rochester.

The warming shelter for the 2017-18 winter will be located at the Adult Day Program center, 115 First Avenue NE. For more information, visit the Salvation Army's website.

Cover photo: Licensed / Canva

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