Warming center to open in downtown Wausau - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Warming center to open in downtown Wausau

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

City council members unanimously approved a plan to open a warming center in downtown Wausau.

The center will be located on Fourth Street in the basement of the St. Paul United Church of Christ Community Center.

"In a location that is on the bus line and accessible for many people in the Wausau area," United Way Collaborative Associate Christine Ellis said.

She told Newsline 9 the center will open in February, but city council members say the permit approved Tuesday night allows them to open the center as soon as possible.

"This really is a best practice model for housing and homeless challenges," she said.

Only one council member, David Nutting, voiced concerns about the plan. He said although a warming center is a good idea, the location should be evaluated after this winter.

"The concern of the businesses downtown is the nature of individuals who might be queuing up early to have access to that because there are only a limited number of sleeping arrangements," Nutting said.

Ultimately, he voted for it. The center is scheduled to be open through March 31.

Organizers told Newsline 9 the center will house up to 15 people per night. It will be open from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Organizers say they will work with the city to make sure that doesn't happen.

"This is actually a solution to avoid people congregating or having people outside during winter months," Ellis said.

Organizers plan to open the center on February 1.

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