BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As the temperatures dip into the 30’s, a lot of homeless people are seeking shelter from the cold.
Many of the shelters are at full capacity and few warming stations are available. The city will not be opening up the Boutwell auditorium as a shelter until next week, which some feel is too late.
“We haven’t had any warming stations open in the metro area and that’s the case right now. There are no warming stations open so basically if you are on the street you are on the street,” said Help for the Homeless founder Erica Robbins.
The unseasonably warm temperatures have pushed back the opening of the Boutwell Auditorium. They usually see up to 250 people on cold nights.
“They can go to the library for as long as they can but once the library closes, that warmth closes so that’s just a temporary warming station,” Robbins said.
The Birmingham Library closes at 8:30 p.m. The city says the opening night of the Boutwell will most likely see between 125-15 people. They expect the number to grow from there.
April Odom with the City of Birmingham said the warming station at Boutwell will open on Jan. 11 through Jan. 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Odom said meals will be provided nightly by area restaurants and churches.
“Each year the citizens of Birmingham step up to help those in need and we could not be more grateful to see that again this year,” said Mayor William Bell in a press release.
Odom says the following donations will be accepted for those who wish to help: personal hygiene items, socks, gloves, scarves, tooth brushes, tooth paste, lip balm, feminine products, toilet paper, bottled water and canned goods.
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