Funding allows shelter to reopen 24-hours
Local leaders joined State Senator Dale Fowler Thursday at the Carbondale Warming Center to announce a substantial grant to fully reopen the center back to a 24-hour shelter for the winter months.
“The Carbondale Warming Center plays a substantial role in helping those who have fallen on hard times and need a place to go to stay warm,” said Senator Fowler. “When I heard the center had to scale back operations due to a funding issue, I knew we needed to act swiftly and seek any possible state funding available to get the shelter back up and running before the brutally cold months.”
The Carbondale Warming Center was the recipient of a $150,000 Good Samaritan Grant facilitated through the Illinois Department of Human Services.
“The Illinois Department of Human Services appreciates the work of community agencies that work with unhoused populations,” said IDHS Chief Homelessness Officer, Christine Haley. “We are pleased with this important step forward, which will provide more families and individuals with access to a safe and warm place to sleep.”
Carbondale Warming Center Executive Director Carmalita Cahill says the 24-hour shelter was forced to cut operational hours down to 12 hours to accommodate overnights starting July 5, 2023. Starting August 4, 2023, the center was only able to operate 6 hours a day, serving as a daytime resource center for social services.
“Our shelter is designed to care for those who cannot tolerate the existing homeless shelters across the area,” said Cahill. “A lot of the people who utilize our facility don’t have anyone or anything else and our staff are able to maintain our guests who are responding from a place of crisis.”
The Carbondale Warming Center is a non-profit organization serving more than 300,000 meals since its December 2019 opening. Cahill says the shelter works closely with the City, which provides the building and covers the maintenance of the facility.
“The Carbondale Warming Center gives our homeless population a place to go while having a warm meal to eat, fresh clothes on their back, and a shower. So many important things that some may take for granted,” said Carbondale Mayor Carolin Harvey. “This funding will ensure those using the shelter will have 24-hour care once again, especially during the winter months, and I want to thank Senator Fowler for his efforts in helping us secure this grant.”
Cahill says the tentative plan is to fully reopen the shelter on a 24-hour basis starting November 15, 2023, through the winter months. Cahill says that date could change, based on weather conditions.