BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) – The cold poses a serious threat to homeless people. That’s why warming centers like the Burlington Community Resource Center, open to provide shelter and food, are a vital resource.
The refuge, managed by the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, has seen the number of daily visitors triple. “This year we are on average around 75,” said project coordinator Abbey Germyn. “Last winter, we were on average about fifteen.
Only 18 people are allowed in at a time, and visitors can get free winter clothing like hats, mittens and a sweater. “Our customers are to log in and complete a COVID-19 screening form and take their temperature upon arrival. We also serve hot food and meals, as well as coffee and tea throughout the day, which keeps people warm on days like this, ”said Germyn. “We are really worried for people today and for this week.”
One resident, Jonathan, comes to the shelter about four times a week. “This is the biggest help we have,” he said. “Coffee, food, pit stop, good conversations and try to help anyone I can.”
Dr Chance Sullivan of the University of Vermont Medical Center said people who are homeless are among the populations most at risk for developing frostbite. “You might start to notice some pain – redness and swelling – in your hands from nose to toe,” he said. “These are some of the most frequently affected places.”
Dr Sullivan said diapers are essential, as is finding heated shelters such as the Community Resource Center. The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity is in need of clothing donations. To find out how to help, click here.