Emergency shelters prepare for people seeking safety from snow storm

Emergency shelters expect high numbers of people

The Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County issued an extreme weather notification for Friday night.

An extreme weather night is declared when temperatures are forecast to be 20 degrees or below with windchill. On these nights, anyone who needs shelter will not be turned away when emergency shelters reach capacity.

The Porchlight Men’s Drop-In Shelter will be open each night of the storm and is expecting high numbers of people.

“We do not turn people away for capacity issues. At this time of year, no one would be out of days, but even if someone had been suspended from services with cold weather and the storm, we have weather exception nights and so everybody is welcome to come in,” Executive Director Karla Thennes said.

Porchlight will welcome each guest with a warm meal. The shelter has warm winter items, including hats, socks, gloves and blankets available if needed.

Craig Laramore said he plans to stay at Porchlight’s shelter this weekend.

“Safe, secure, warm,” Laramore said. “Three favorite words I have on my mind right now for the shelter.”

Lawrence Block uses Porchlight housing. He lost multiple fingers to frostbite while homeless on a cold night in Rockford, Ill. years ago.

“If you don’t have to be out, you better not be out there,” Block said.

Porchlight already had a season high of 148 people. During extremely high temperatures in 2019, the high was 170 people.

Shelter will also be available at the Salvation Army’s Family and Women shelters.