MILWAUKEE — With Wisconsin experiencing its lowest temperatures of the season yet, several organizations are stepping up for those who need shelter from the elements.

What You Need To Know

  • Organizations such as Guest House and Street Angels are helping to keep those who are unhoused warm in the Milwaukee area

  • Three people who were homeless are believed to have died from hypothermia over the weekend

  • There is a city-wide effort to make sure as many unhoused as possible have access to a warming shelter during the winter

One of them is the Guest House of Milwaukee.

Stephen Bauer checked on the beds in the warming shelter Tuesday before they are expected to be filled later in the day.

He is the interim CEO of Guest House of Milwaukee.

Bauer said its goal is to provide ways toward housing, education and services for Milwaukee’s unhoused population.

“Guest House is all about helping people find stable housing,” said Bauer. “There’s dignity in that. There’s a level of respect one can earn with that sort of status, so it’s important for us to help people that want to be housed to find the type of housing they need.”

Bauer said this is also the first year of a city wide coordinated effort to provide as many people as possible with shelter during the winter.

“We’ve been pretty successful in getting that off the ground,” said Bauer. “It’s the first time it’s ever been coordinated at this level across the city and so we are super excited about that, but the need is real and last night with the cold and the snow. All of the shelters were over capacity to help those that wanted to get in for the night.”

Eva Welch is co-director of Street Angels Milwaukee.

She said Street Angels Milwaukee placed clothing outside to see how fast it would freeze.

(Spectrum News 1/Phillip Boudreaux)

“These [socks] have been out here, I think about 10 minutes,” said Welch. “They are actually a thicker sock, so it took them longer to freeze.”

For Welch, it’s about showing how far community donations go to helping those who need shelter.

“A good impactful moment to show people what their donations are doing, which is keeping their feet from freezing when we can provide clean dry socks,” said Welch.

Welch said Street Angels spend their nights providing hot meals and supplies for the unhoused.

“Our main focuses are on the people that are unsheltered, under the bridges, in the tents, in their vehicles, so we are trying to provide anything we can,” said Welch.

(Spectrum News 1/Phillip Boudreaux)

With the cots and beds at Guest House filled to capacity on a daily basis, Bauer said it makes one thing clear.

“Housing in Milwaukee is an issue and specifically housing for those that don’t have the income, that don’t have the stability that a lot of us enjoy so first recognize that is an issue,” said Bauer.

He said he hopes they can continue to provide more people with pathways to stable housing.

In the meantime, Bauer said they are also in dire need of blankets, coats and other winter wear as they work to keep people warm as possible.

Those who need shelter are encouraged to call 211.