Repairers of the Breach to open Monday night for Milwaukee's homeless

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Repairers of the Breach, normally a daytime resource for Milwaukee's homeless, will be open Monday night, January 5th starting at 10:00 p.m. because of the extreme cold. This, as the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office investigates two deaths that may be connected to the cold.

The shelter is open at night whenever the temperature drops below 10 degrees, or the wind chill is 10 below or worse.

It is located at 1335 W. Vliet St. in Milwaukee and often serves as an overflow from regular overnight shelters in situations like this.

"We can`t give them beds and accommodate them that way but we can get them out of the elements," Repairers of the Breach Director Pastor James West said.

West says last winter, the shelter had overnight hours a record 51 nights.

"It was brutal," West said.

West says it's even more brutal to hear about the possibility of two recent cold-related deaths.

Officials say a 58-year-old man was found dead Thursday, January 1st in an alcove near a liquor store in the area of S. 1st and W. Bruce. Officials say the man has a history of homelessness. He was pronounced dead at 8:07 p.m. An autopsy was performed and cause of death is pending.

The second cold-related death under investigation involves a 91-year-old man. Officials say the man was found dead Saturday, January 3rd in his unheated, 30 degree home after a welfare check. An autopsy will be performed Monday, January 5th. The cause of death is pending.

The Cathedral Center serves women and families, and will be able to help more people survive this winter. Thanks to a donation from the United Way, the shelter went from 32 beds to 42.

"It`s an incredible difference. That`s ten people who aren`t gonna get frostbite. Ten more people who aren`t gonna sleep outside, potentially dying," Cathedral Center Director Donna Rongholt-Migan said.

Whether it serves women, children or men, every resource is vital.

"They need to know there is a safe place they can go because it`s dangerous out there," West said.

People who spend the night at Repairers of the Breach can stay until 4:00 the following afternoon. That`s the typical time when Repairers of the Breach closes, but they`ll reopen at 10:00 p.m. should they have overnight hours. Pastor West expects that to be the case at least a couple more times this week.

Community activist Tracey Dent tells FOX6 News he will be working to help collect hats and gloves and other cold-weather items (blankets, socks, etc.) for the homeless on Tuesday, January 6th. Donations will be accepted on Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission on N. 19th Street.

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