Stateside: Fending off bitter temperatures with shelters

Jan 23, 2013

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

During these frigid weeks the warmth of a home is invaluable.

But for the homeless, these winter conditions pose life-threatening challenges.

Reverend Chico Daniels, president and chief executive of Mel Trotter Ministries and Cass Community Social Services  executive director, Reverend Faith Fowler, spoke with Cyndy about the necessity of homeless shelters in the winter.

“In the Cass Corridor we have a warming center for 50 homeless women and children. Beyond that we have two regular shelters and some transitional housing,” said Fowler.

Her warming shelter normally services 30 people on an average night.

With the recent cold front, however, there has been an increase in demand for shelters.

“We have been seeing our numbers increase as expected. We’re cooperating with another ministry in the city to go out and encourage people to come up from under the bridges. Our numbers have spiked…” said Daniels.

According to Fowler, Wayne County played an integral role in the shelters’ success.

“The city Detroit deserves a shout out for this. They established two warming centers and we can accommodate 250 homeless men, women and children. It’s especially notable given the financial situation of Detroit right now,” said Fowler.

To better accommodate the children with whom she works- Fowler’s opens her doors around 4 p.m. until 8 a.m. - so that the children can prepare for school.

On days where the temperature drops below 20 degrees, the shelters remain open until noon.

“We are the safety net, the place of last resort…” said Daniels.

-Cameron Stewart

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