CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - As the temperatures get colder, the Carbondale Warming Center opened its doors to the public on December 1.
Carmalita Cahill is the center’s coordinator. She said the after-hours center is open to everyone, every night from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. until April 1.
The center is now located at 608 East College Street, in the heart of the city, serving more than eight people per night on average.
Cahill says more than 600 people used the warming center last year, which used to be located inside a construction trailer with no indoor plumbing.
Recent upgrades to the facility improved on the sanitary conditions and security of the shelter, city officials said. There’s a bullet-proof glass at the front foyer, before entering the locked facility.
“We want you to be comfortable, we want you to relax, we want you to feel like you’re a home for this evening,” Cahill said.
The mission of the organization is to provide nighttime sleeping space on cold nights as a supplement to the city’s existing shelter system.
The new facility has 20 beds, and guests will receive knit hats, gloves, toiletries donated from Cornerstone Church and many other volunteers.
“We have hot and cold running water, we have microwave, coffee, all the things that you would just about have at home. We have more security and more safety,” she said.
Cahill says her goal is to build trust with the people who stay here and help them get back on their feet. She said, “We want everybody in our community to know that we see them as humans, we want to restore and respect their dignity and approach that with dignity...And that’s the biggest aspect right there.”
Right now, they are looking for more volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, you can click here.