Birmingham citizens come together to offer warming stations to homeless

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Some of Birmingham’s homeless will stay warm inside the Boutwell Auditorium on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. A few weeks ago, the shelter was closed on the coldest night of the year after a weekend full of events.

Don Lupo, with Office of Citizen’s Assistance of the City of Birmingham said that a committee has met twice since that night the Boutwell closed. He said many organizations have come forward offering to help if the auditorium ever has to stay closed on a cold night.

Locations that are ready to open if the Boutwell must close include: The Jimmie Hale Mission, Avondale Samaritan Place, Changed Lives Christian Center and First United Methodist Church in downtown Birmingham.

Lupo said in the 16 years the Boutwell has been used as an overflow warming station, he remembers it has only closed around six times. After this recent closure, he said the people of Birmingham and surrounding communities have come together to help in any way they can.

“They rally and they come to the aid of our fellow man, it’s the aid of our neighbors and the people that live down here on the streets,” said Lupo. “This is a real community effort and something that everyone believes in. And quite honestly, this is something that we do very well (in Birmingham).”

If you would like to help, the city is always accepting food and toiletry donations. Because the Boutwell is open over the next 48 hours, you can drop off donations at the auditorium.

The main items they are looking for include: tooth brushes and paste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, nonalcoholic mouthwash and canned food with pop top lids that do not require can openers. For more information contact Lupo at  Don.Lupo@birminghamal.gov.

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