Milwaukee County emergency shelters open doors during bitter-cold weekend

MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- Milwaukee County is opening up warming centers to help people stay safe in this bitterly cold weather this weekend.

People and families who need an emergency warming center can call Impact at 2-1-1. The Impact system works year-round through partnership with Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee and dozens of community organizations to provide services for individuals and families in need.

“Milwaukee County is committed to doing everything we can to provide resources for individuals and families who need assistance staying safe and warm not just through the colder months but year-round, and we appreciate the dedication and support of our partner organizations like Impact, the United Way, Guest House, Hope House, and the Salvation Army, just to name a few. Unfortunately homelessness is a problem too large for any one group to tackle on its own. But thanks to the generosity of our community organizations and the faith community, more help is available. If you know someone in need of assistance please have them call 2-1-1 for a referral.” County Executive Chris Abele said.

Currently the following shelters are utilizing the 2-1-1 Coordinated Entry System: Cathedral Center; Guest House of Milwaukee; Hope House of Milwaukee; Salvation Army Emergency Lodge; and Milwaukee Women’s Center (family placements only). Please note, this means that all referrals for these shelters must come via a 2-1-1 referral. Shelter space is primarily filled via Coordinated Entry system, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. While you can contact 2-1-1 during the off hours, please keep in mind shelter space is typically full at those times.

The following warming centers and shelters are also available:

    In the case that all the shelters/warming houses are full it is suggested that people call one of the following for emergency assistance in getting connected to a safe location:

      Impact can also provide information on day time safe places to stay (such as day time warming rooms, libraries, meal sites, senior centers and community centers). The Milwaukee County Department on Aging (289-6874) can also connect seniors with home-delivered meals and referrals to seniors centers and community centers.

      Individuals who have a secure place to stay and need help with their heating bills can apply to Wisconsin’s Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) for assistance for heating costs, electric costs, and energy crisis situations. The application process has been greatly simplified due to a new service delivery model and people can sign up easily.

      Head to or call 270-4653 for an appointment.