Warming centers take on extreme temperatures

Local warming centers are working hard to keep people safe in sub-zero temperatures.

Posted: Jan 2, 2018 5:24 AM
Updated: Jan 2, 2018 7:34 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. -  Warming centers in the area are keeping doors open for people who need it. 

Dorothy Day Hospitality House usually has a eligibility rule where guests who stay for two weeks cannot come back for 60 days. But when temperatures are this low, people are always welcome despite when they last stayed at the house. 

"We started what we call 'cold weather nights.' And any night that the temperatures are going to be cold we open the free beds up for anyone who may need a bed. And it doesn't make a difference how long they've been away from the house. If they just checked out yesterday, they're eligible today for the cold weather night," Charlie Kirby, Dorothy Day Hospitatliy House President, said. 

The Salvation Army's warming center in Rochester is seeing an average of 25 guests per night. Alex Hurlebaus is the warming center's coordinator. He says the warming center is transforming from a helpful resource to possibly a life-changing one. 

"It is unsafe out there. It is not acceptable for anybody to be outside for any amount of time. You know, you step outside and your hands are exposed for 10 seconds, it's pretty terrible," he said. 

He said they are making efforts to accommodate the extreme temperatures. 

"When I'm here I let guests in. So 5 o' clock instead of 7 o' clock. We've had volunteers who've hung out a little longer in the morning to make sure people can stay," he said. "We'd like to do more in that respect but again we're working with the volunteers that we have and what they're able to do."

The warming center has been able to increase their volunteer base, now seeing about 150 volunteers. The community has also been helping by providing warm meals and donating clothes. But there is still a need. 

"Long term goal being open five months straight out of the year. We're getting closer to having a volunteer base that could support that," Hurlebaus. 

People can get involved in volunteering by heading to the Dorothy Day Hospitality House website or calling the Salvation Army's office and asking to reach Alex Hurlebaus. 

"If you've ever wanted to see your time, your effort...if you've ever wanted to immediately see that that made a difference, there is no better volunteer opporunity than this," Hurlebaus said. "Just making sure someone has a warm place to be, a warm meal to eat. You are ensuring that just by being here, just by existing as a volunteer six hours of your night."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21960

Reported Deaths: 908
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7421549
Ramsey255198
Stearns195912
Nobles14782
Anoka124156
Dakota116438
Olmsted57010
Washington55329
Kandiyohi4711
Rice3962
Clay38625
Scott3742
Wright2631
Todd2200
Sherburne2172
Mower2061
Carver1822
Benton1672
Steele1440
Martin1265
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St. Louis11413
Freeborn970
Pine850
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Carlton730
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Swift160
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Wilkin113
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Cass112
Norman110
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Pope80
Wadena80
Aitkin70
Yellow Medicine60
Koochiching60
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Lincoln50
Grant30
Clearwater30
Big Stone30
Red Lake30
Lac qui Parle30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Houston20
Kittson10
Hubbard10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 17676

Reported Deaths: 477
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3821112
Woodbury264028
Black Hawk169240
Linn93676
Marshall87511
Dallas86417
Johnson6057
Muscatine54540
Wapello5174
Crawford4872
Tama39824
Scott3419
Louisa3369
Dubuque32316
Jasper25716
Buena Vista2520
Pottawattamie2207
Sioux2040
Washington1848
Wright1240
Plymouth1181
Allamakee1184
Warren1120
Story951
Poweshiek888
Mahaska858
Bremer676
Henry671
Clinton601
Des Moines591
Boone550
Cedar461
Guthrie433
Taylor400
Benton391
Jones360
Monroe354
Clarke350
Iowa330
Osceola320
Shelby310
Clayton313
Buchanan310
Marion300
Webster281
Fayette260
Hamilton250
Madison251
Monona240
Winneshiek230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee210
Davis200
Grundy190
Lyon190
Harrison190
Cherokee180
Floyd181
Jefferson180
Mills160
Delaware150
Butler150
Hancock140
Keokuk140
Greene130
Sac130
Appanoose133
Humboldt130
Ida130
Hardin130
Howard120
Jackson120
Audubon121
Cass110
Clay100
Page100
Winnebago100
Dickinson90
Carroll90
Van Buren90
Chickasaw80
Franklin80
Kossuth80
Emmet70
Adair70
Montgomery60
Union60
Lucas60
Adams50
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