PILSEN — With frigid temperatures set to continue through the weekend and next week, a Pilsen alderman and community groups are offering shelter for people experiencing homelessness.
Since last weekend, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) has been using his office’s basement at 1508 W. 18th St. as an emergency warming center for folks without shelter.
As “temperatures drop to dangerous levels … the lives of people who are living without shelter are at risk,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, shelters and other facilities have limited capacity. That’s why Sigcho-Lopez said his office is working to raise money to get folks placed in a hotel through the cold spell.
To date, they’ve helped seven people find shelter in hotels.
“We have a huge shortage of shelters but a big need, that’s why our office opened our doors,” he said.
Sigcho-Lopez said he’s able to fit up to nine people safely in his office’s basement. The Pilsen Food Pantry, 1850 S. Throop St., has opened its building as a warming center, too.
The alderman said he’s working with groups to get folks placed in hotels until at least Tuesday. People can donate to help get hotels for area people who are homeless here.
“The biggest concern is having anyone in the streets,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
The city’s cold spell is expected to continue over the weekend and into next week, with Saturday night and Sunday predicted to see the worst of the cold.
Overnight and into Sunday morning, temperatures could fall to 4 below zero. It could feel as chilly as 30 below zero.
Sigcho-Lopez said the current cold spell and ongoing pandemic underscores the need for emergency housing for the most vulnerable.
“We cannot normalize seniors and vulnerable residents who are homeless dying in the streets due to weather,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “This is an urgent call.”
For more information on warming centers, click here.
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