Deadly cold weather has warming shelters preparing for extra people

With temperatures getting dangerously cold, it’s extremely important for people to take precautions.

Both the La Crosse warming center and Salvation Army are opening up their doors to anyone who needs a warm place to stay this weekend.

Additionally the La Crosse Police Department is setting up an emergency shelter at Station 2 on the north side.

La Crosse Police Sgt. Tom Walsh said i f people don’t take shelter this weekend, officials say the cold snap could be deadly.

“This is really dangerous weather,” Walsh said.

The police department is setting up nine cots at its emergency shelter.

“If people need to, they can come up here and we’ll be here for them,” Walsh said.

They’ve seen people try to spend the night outside in temperatures like this and say the outcome isn’t pretty.

“In the past we have had people that have fallen victims to the cold temperatures,” Walsh said.

Walsh said anyone can get shelter no matter their background.

“We’re not asking any questions. Ultimately we want people to be safe,” Walsh said.

Jeff Richardson, a major with Salvation Army of La Crosse, said their shelter is increasing the amount of people who can spend the night from 80 to 90.

“There’s always a place to go and we don’t want to see anybody dying because they didn’t feel like they had a place to go. Everybody’s welcome here,” Richardson said.

Both the Salvation Army and the police department are asking for people to spread the word about the extra shelter.

“If you see somebody that looks like they may be in need of a place to go, please direct them to one of the many places. Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the warming center down on 3rd Street or certainly up here to the community policing center,” Walsh said.

Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army need more volunteers. Walsh is confident people will step up to help out.

“This is one of the things that makes La Crosse a great place to live is, we all rally around emergencies and situations where we need to help others,” Walsh said.

If you would like to volunteer you can call, the Salvation Army at 608-782-6126 or call Catholic Charities at 608-519-8020.

The La Crosse police department will be housing people through at least Sunday night.

If there’s a need for it, police say their shelter will remain open next week, as well.

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