Area Homeless Seek Shelter As Temperatures Drop

With frigid temperatures forecast for Thursday, it’s crucial for homeless people in the area to find shelter to stay warm.

A wind chill advisory has been issued for areas north and west of Dane County until noon Thursday.

Porchlight Inc. in Madison said it’s committed to make sure that people in need have a warm place to stay.

A typical night in Porchlight’s men’s drop-in shelter sees about 130 people. In the past couple of days, the number has hovered around 160 men.

One of those men, Dennis Denure, said he spends his days going from the library to the day shelter to keep warm.

“There are people that will sleep outside in this. The Porchlight people, they are a blessing to a lot of us who have a good attitude in the emergency shelter at (Grace Episcopal Church),” Denure said.

“When I come into work and I see the guys line up a little early, I definitely have some compassion and try to put myself in their shoes. I’m glad to help them every way I can,” said Preston Patterson, shelter coordinator for Porchlight.

Porchlight workers said they always see more people at their door when it’s this cold. They said that on cold nights like Wednesday, they make room for those who need it.

“We don’t turn anybody away for space. We have never turned anybody away. We’ll find somewhere to put them,” Patterson said.

A doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital said that people who are outside in the cold should make sure to wear warm clothing and keep hydrated because one’s body needs to stay hydrated to keep warm.

WISC-TV meteorologist Gary Cannalte said Thursday will be partly sunny, breezy and unseasonably cold with a high of 7 degrees. He said wind chills will be from zero to minus 10 degrees.