January 9, 2019 at 8:30 PM CST - Updated January 9 at 10:12 PM
CARBONDALE, IL (Heartland News at 9) - A group of organizations began a series of meetings back in August to develop plans to create a warming center in Carbondale, Illinois during the coldest winter months.
Those include: the Carbondale Interfaith Council, Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, Good Samaritan House, Sparrow Coalition, Carbondale Public Library, Centerstone, Jackson County Health Department, SIU Clinical Center, and the City of Carbondale
The Carbondale City Council put them one step closer at Tuesday nights, Jan. 8 meeting in a 5-2 vote in favor of allowing them a zoning certificate which allows them to set up a warming center on city property.
Since the need for a warming center is seasonal, it was determined that mobile trailers might be the best option for this initiative.
They will be able to set up these trailers on 800 East Main Street.
The plan is for the warming center to operate from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. as needed, depending on the weather.
This would be a temporary, seasonal facility that would close by April 1.
The center will be professionally staffed by paid employees as well as unpaid volunteers.
Carolin Harvey a member of the Carbondale City Council said that some businesses around the 800 East Main Street areas were concerned about increased panhandlers during last night’s city council meeting.
“Those businesses are already having that to occur so my concern is if that creates an increase in that then we can address that issue, but if it something that is already happening then I don't see where that would affect their business,” Harvey said.
Fundraising began back in December, and the group has currently raised almost 80 percent of its seasonal fundraising goal of $23,000.
The Coalition putting the warming center will be meeting on Friday to determine when the trailers will be set up.
Anyone wanting to help them reach their goal completely can make a donation to the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless at 1009 W. Cherry St., Marion, Illinois 62959 .