Chattanooga, TN – The Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition only opens an overnight warming shelter when temperatures drop below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
The shelter was opened for Monday night’s freezing temperature and is going to open again Tuesday night for the dangerously cold weather.
The Executive Director of the Homeless Coalition, Wendy Winters, was expecting freezing weather and encouraged anyone in need of shelter to come in.
“We are expecting dangerously cold temperatures tonight and it will be wet. Please don’t be afraid to come in. We will also offer rapid COVID-19 testing. Anyone in need of shelter can text “winter shelter” to 97779 to subscribe to updates on when the warming shelter will open.”, said Winters.
The Homeless Coalition teamed up with the Hamilton County Department of Health to develop COVID-19 protocols, such as temperature checks, hand sanitizer, PPE, and barriers.
Some COVID-19 funding has gone to the Homeless Coalition, and Wendy Winters hopes to end homelessness with this money.
We hope to strategically use COVID response dollars to end homelessness for at least a few sub-populations,” said Ms. Winters.
Winters anticipates that compassionate property owners may rent to low-income and homeless individuals through subsidization of some form.
COVID-19 has brought a focus to homelessness as many are out of work and have lost their housing.
Regarding coronavirus restrictions, Winters said “We don’t know what kind of effect that’s going to have on the homeless population, but we have to anticipate that there will be an increase.”
The Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition reported a 150% increase in helpline calls since March.
The Chattanooga Community Kitchen is accepting donations for the shelter’s opening.
Coats, hand warmers, socks, underwear, gloves and hats can be dropped off Monday through Saturday from 7:00am to 5:00pm at 727 E. 11th Street in Chattanooga.