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Bloomington Shelters Offer Aid, Shelter From Historic Cold Spell

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Shelters in Bloomington are offering extended hours and preparing overflow spaces as temperatures drop. (Steve Burns, WFIU/WTIU News)

As temperatures drop to historic lows across the state, Bloomington homeless shelters and community centers are extending hours to provide aid.

Forecasters are predicting temperatures as low as negative 26 degrees in Bloomington.

Shalom Community Center Executive Director Forrest Gilmore says the center will open at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. And the overnight shelter will open at 4 p.m. to provide shelter as soon as the center closes.

“We’ll be having kind of an open door at our overnight shelter on Rogers Street and trying to make sure as many people get in and get a safe space to be in as possible,” Gilmore says.

Gilmore says the most important thing is to make sure everyone has somewhere warm and safe to stay, because frostbite can set in within minutes.

Chris-Michael Morrison is the director of advancement for Wheeler Mission in the Bloomington area. He says the men’s shelter has about 130 beds. He says the cold weather has brought more people to their shelters recently.

"We’ve consistently been sheltering about over a hundred,” Morrison says. “We experienced a record number about a week ago, about 111 men.”

Morrison says the women’s shelter has about 70 beds, with a separate area for overflow.

He says the Wheeler center also provides meals to visitors. The day center is open from sunrise to sundown.

Both shelters will also use street outreach teams to encourage anyone without shelter to come to their facilities.

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