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Homeless for the Holidays: Rochester Community Warming Center needs volunteers

The Rochester Community Warming Center announced they will open Sunday, December 15. It will operate daily from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

Posted: Dec 8, 2019 11:50 PM
Updated: Dec 9, 2019 12:31 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Most of us take for granted the warm bed we go home to every night. When you're homeless, you have to get creative to find a place to sleep and stay warm.

There's a new spot for them to go thanks to a collaboration between the city of Rochester, Olmsted County, and Catholic Charities.

The Rochester Community Warming Center is located at 200 Fourth Street SE, across the street from the Olmsted County Government Center.

Coordinators announced the center will open on Sunday, December 15. In order for it to be successful, the need your help.

"We have very open doors," Cathy Hunsaker, a night shift manager at the warming center, said. "We want to help as many individuals as we can."

In a city filled with thousands of people, about a dozen came together to learn how to help the community's most vulnerable of residents.

"Being part of a community is more than just being in it and living there," Matthew Murphy, of Rochester, said. "So to actually give back and to help each other."

Matthew Murphy makes one volunteer. The goal is to get 200 people signed up.

"I know it's going to be busy, but people need a warm place to go," Murphy said, "and I'm fortunate enough to have a warm place so I gotta be grateful."

The Rochester Salvation Army provides shelter when the temps dip below zero. The Rochester Community Warming Center will be open no matter the weather.

"It will be a good opportunity for them to have a place where they can go when it's not just zero," Hunsaker said, "because one or two degrees doesn't feel so great either."

As a night manager, Hunsaker will work side by side with the volunteers to care for the guests.

"I just want to help and I feel like this is a population that is under-served," Hunsaker said, "and can tend to be marginalized and really benefits from having someone in their corner who just will talk to them like a person. I want to bring that to this position."

The space will provide people a place to sleep, clean themselves up, and wash their clothes.

In all, there's 30 bed and there's room to fit up to 32 people. Coordinators are working on a back-up location if more people show up.

"At first it seemed like there maybe wasn't much of a homelessness issue in Rochester," Hunsaker said, "and then you start to pay attention."

With people sleeping in sky ways, living in their vehicles, and camping out under bridges, it's a resource that's needed in the community and expected to be utilized.

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton sees the value in adding another appropriate place of shelter.

"Homelessness affects those that are without a home, but it affects other people in the community as well," Norton said. "It's going to take the whole community to solve the problem."

Hunsaker said the new center will not only provide individuals a place to sleep, the staff will also help them better their situation.

"We definitely want to be helpful and proactive in that and get people connected with the resources they need to solve their root issues of their homelessness," Hunsaker said, "because having a place to sleep is just the tip of the iceberg."

The Rochester Community Warming Center will serve adults ages 18 and older. It will operate daily from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

There will be two shift volunteers can sign up for: 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Rochester Community Warming Center Coordinator Tricia Kramer by email: tkramer@ccsomn.org or phone: (507) 287-2047, ext. 33.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 912370

Reported Deaths: 9506
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1780492023
Ramsey736781043
Dakota67355574
Anoka63852570
Washington40349356
Stearns33475276
St. Louis29443403
Scott25842181
Wright25830216
Olmsted22258128
Sherburne18919126
Carver1661066
Clay12033104
Blue Earth1144868
Rice11410138
Crow Wing11170122
Chisago992378
Kandiyohi9800106
Otter Tail9758127
Benton9018125
Beltrami816094
Goodhue805597
Douglas7849100
Itasca769597
Mower731249
McLeod710983
Winona708657
Isanti697883
Steele682731
Morrison671579
Becker627174
Polk599484
Freeborn559646
Carlton543474
Mille Lacs529474
Lyon527261
Nobles524754
Nicollet521160
Pine512642
Cass500553
Todd490743
Brown469757
Le Sueur457733
Meeker431457
Martin385843
Wabasha373610
Waseca372332
Dodge359811
Hubbard354749
Roseau315531
Fillmore304315
Wadena301740
Redwood281245
Houston270717
Renville268051
Faribault257032
Pennington251030
Sibley251017
Kanabec248136
Cottonwood229232
Aitkin221550
Chippewa219442
Pope206710
Watonwan197420
Yellow Medicine187723
Rock177428
Koochiching176023
Swift172622
Stevens167011
Jackson160816
Clearwater157520
Marshall153122
Murray151811
Pipestone149529
Lake132224
Lac qui Parle122125
Wilkin120616
Mahnomen105914
Norman10489
Grant101110
Big Stone9465
Lincoln8745
Kittson73023
Red Lake71310
Unassigned629124
Traverse6056
Lake of the Woods5255
Cook3070

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 523052

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Unassigned66470
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
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Adams5748
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