City of Elkhart reflects on warming center plan

Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 4:39 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - With the worst of the cold behind Michiana for now, the City of Elkhart weighed in on its decision to designate one location, Faith Mission of Elkhart, as the municipal warming center.

“Even some of our folks who are unhoused and are choosing to live outside, they know this weather is not safe for them. And they’re not going to take that risk either,” said Corrine Straight, Director of Communications for the City of Elkhart.

Straight said Faith Mission of Elkhart, which also serves as the county warming center, saw an average of 60 to 70 people use its services daily when the temperatures took the recent nose dive. She noted it was a stronger turnout compared to the years when the city opened pavilions and fire houses for warming purposes.

“In previous years, we just found that residents were not utilizing those. So we were staffing them and keeping them open. And we found that most people who needed warming at this time of year were going to the Faith Mission anyway,” she said.

Straight said Faith Mission of Elkhart can connect guests with more than just warmth.

“Some people will go and will learn like, ‘Oh, there are options for me. I could possibly get help finding an apartment or applying for benefits online or doing a job search,’” explained Straight. “So there are services that we can connect people with when they come there. And that’s why we want to drive people towards the experts, towards the people that do this as their career because they’re the ones that can connect you to really what you need.”

Faith Mission of Elkhart is located at 801 Benham Avenue and can be reached at (574) 293-3406.