Shelters open, suspend capacity limits during deep freeze

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The City of Madison said its officials are working with Dane County staff, as well as area nonprofits, area utilities and others during the onslaught of below-zero temperatures and brutal wind chill that's expected to last for several days.

City officials said local facilities that accommodate homeless individuals and families have extended hours and have suspended occupancy limits during this period.

The Mayor's Office said Madison Public Libraries are open 9-5 on Saturday, and on Sunday the Central Library, Pinney, Sequoyah and Alesha Ashman will be open from 1-5 p.m. During the week, the main libraries are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Madison Senior Center is also open to anyone looking for shelter during the day.

"At times like this, all city staff are working to ensure the safety or our residents and protect our most vulnerable," said Mayor Paul Soglin.

The Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County said Friday Jan. 25, Saturday Jan. 26 and Sunday Jan. 27 are considered "cold weather nights" for all overnight shelters. On cold weather nights, families and single women in need of a safe place to sleep can use The Salvation Army's (630 E. Washington Ave.) emergency shelters despite usual capacity and shelter night limits. Single men in need a of a place to stay can use the Grace Men's Drop In Shelter (116 W. Washington Ave.) despite usual capacity and shelter night limits.

The Beacon (615 E. Washington Ave.) is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily.

First United Methodist Church (203 Wisconsin Ave.) in Madison will be open for families and single women on Monday, Jan. 28 through Friday, Feb. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as an Emergency Day Warming Center.

Click here for more information on Dane County resources for people in need of shelter.

Madison Metro will have warming buses at all four Madison bus transfer points over the weekend. These buses will shelter people who need to make a bus transfer.

In Rock County, there are several warming shelters open during the day, including public libraries, senior centers, The Salvation Army, Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville and the Broadhead Police Department lobby.

The Sparrows Nest (1816 Harrison Ave.) in Janesville provides an overnight shelter for anyone needing a place to stay. In Janesville, the Gifts Men's Shelter (1025 N. Washington St.) is open overnight, and the House of Mercy (320 Lincoln St.) is open to women, children and families.

Anyone in need of emergency services can call the American Red Cross at 877-618-6628 or the United Way at 211.

In 2018, three people died in three days because of the cold. It's important for people to look out for one another during the stretch of cold weather. Check-in on your neighbors, particularly those who are elderly or have a disability. If you see someone who may be in distress, call 911.