MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- We got our first taste of the bitter cold on Monday, November 17th -- as wind chills fell into the single digits during the day, and sub-zero wind chills were expected Monday night. The Milwaukee Rescue Mission has 250 beds in its men's shelter, and the director says typically in November, you see nights where 225 men come in. On Monday night -- he expected every bed would be filled.
"We`ll have overflow. How many, I don`t know at this point -- but there will be men coming in later because of the cold," Milwaukee Rescue Mission Director Charles Schumacher said.
Schumacher says it is rare for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission to have an overflow crowd in November, but with wind chills in the single digits Monday, staff at the Rescue Mission were preparing for the kind of night you'd typically see in January.
"We`ve been doing this a lot of years, so we saw the cold weather was coming and we just made our plans. We didn`t need to bring in any additional staff, but we got some of our overflow mattresses out," Schumacher said.
The Milwaukee Rescue Mission has about 30 extra mattresses. The staff will stack up the chairs and turn the waiting room into an overflow bedroom.
"They`ll be coming in throughout the night. Men will be coming in through the night. They know we have the overflow in the cold weather. We tell them 'hey, get in here. Get yourself safe,'" Schumacher said.
While evening check-in typically ends at 6:30 p.m., Schumacher says men will come in much later on nights when it's as cold as it was Monday -- saying they try to sleep outside, and realize they can't.
"There is a real danger of someone freezing to death in this kind of weather," Schumacher said.
Schumacher says on top of the cold weather, Monday nights are among the busiest regardless of temperature. He says the only people the Rescue Mission turns away are men with a history of violence at the shelter and first or second-degree registered sex offenders.
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