Encampment in a field

A tent is set up in a snowy field.

The City of Kalamazoo is closing the temporary warming shelter near the Mills Street homeless encampment  Sunday, Feb. 21 at noon, due to temperatures no longer meeting criteria for extreme weather, per a press release from the city.

Upon clearing the shelter, the Department of Public Services will begin demobilization on Monday, Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. The labor-intensive process is expected to take multiple days to complete.

This information has been shared with community partners and local homeless assistance agencies, so they are prepared to respond and provide appropriate services to those using the warming tent.

The warming shelter has been open 24-hours a day since Feb. 4, and usage has ranged from just a few people per day to a high of 25 on Feb. 17.

“We erected the temporary warming shelter on Feb. 4 – in accordance with Kalamazoo County’s Extreme Temperature & Weather: Policy and Plan – to provide our city’s unhoused population with another option to keep warm during the frigid temperatures we have been experiencing lately,” said Jim Ritsema, Kalamazoo City Manager. “With temperatures and wind chills expected to increase beyond what the County’s policy classifies as an extreme cold event on Sunday, we began notifying the individuals using the shelter and our community partners that it will close on Sunday.”

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Why are you taking it down? What if there’s another cold spell? Are you going to put it back up? If not, what are the homeless people going to do?

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