Where are the Warming Centers?
By Amanda Caspian
This past week alone temperatures dropped as low as 34 degrees at night with even a frost advisory being issued the week prior. More rain and low temperatures are expected for the rest of the month. What does it take for the City and County to open Warming Centers for those living on the streets or overflow from shelters?
The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara helped to create the Freedom Warming Centers in 2009 after the death of a local homeless man named "Freedom" during freezing overnight temperatures. They open between November 15 and March 31 when weather conditions can pose a danger to those forced to live out of doors. What determines the activation of these warming centers and what qualifies as dangerous weather conditions? Surely intense rainstorms, 34 degrees, and frost advisories would count as dangerous weather for those living inside.
The Unitarian website, "activation notice is sent out 48 hours in advance, if the weather forecast calls for temperatures below 35 or at least a 50% chance of rain." Haven't the past few weeks counted for this?
Where are our local officials and where is the news coverage? Even for those locals who despise local transients and do not support the warming centers, it is absolutely heartless and unconscionable that people are still freezing to death on the streets and we're not doing anything about it.
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