Homeless in the cold - network of shelters offers hope

With temperatures in the single digits It is too cold for anyone to stay outside for long periods of time.

Some homeless people have set up a makeshift tent city in downtown Detroit.  But Mayor Mike Duggan wants them to move into shelters.

Dawn Marshall and her family needed a place to stay - thanks to The Coalition on Temporary Shelter,  they have a warm place to stay.

"It's warm," Marshall said. "This is a good place for people who don't have a place to stay."

With cuts in funding, emergency shelter at COTS is now only available to families.

"Women with children make up most of our families, though we do have a  few dads," said Trish Dewald, of COTS. "Right now we have 122 children and 48 adults in our emergency shelter." 

But not everyone wants a bed at a shelter.

"It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't windy," said one homeless man standing outside.

Duggan wants to get the homeless off the streets and out of tent cities.

"There are spots in shelter for everyone," Duggan said. "At some point we're going to have to enforce the law - you can't stay in the parks overnight, you can't have open fires, you can't pitch tents."

As temperatures continue to drop, some shelters are full to capacity but don't despair there is still hope.

Dewald encourages people looking for shelter to contact the Coordinated Assessment Model which has access to all available beds in the community.

"Our continuum of care with our 60-plus organizations in the city of Detroit are meant to help people who are homeless," she said. "It is a one-stop shop where folks can go and find out where there are programs best suited to fit their needs."

If you need information on emergency shelter contact the Coordinated Assessment Model or CAM at (313) 305-0311.

And to donate to COTS, go to cotsdetroit.org
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