Homeless shelters filling up in Wausau - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Homeless shelters filling up in Wausau


Thousands of people in Wisconsin don't have their own place to stay warm when temperatures plummet.

John Ropiak has spent nights in the bitter cold.

"Bone numbing cold. You get so cold that you know when you do finally thaw out, your fingers and toes just burn like crazy," said Ropiak.

Ropiak is staying in the Salvation Army's Transitional Housing so he doesn't have to worry about the cold nights for now.

But shelter leaders say they are almost at capacity. They say homelessness is on the rise in Wisconsin.

"It can happen to anybody. Anybody can get laid off from a job, people can lose their homes to fires, life is unpredictable," said Heather Writz, an intake worker with Salvation Army.

When its dorms are full, leaders say they refer people in need to the Wausau Community Warming Center.

"Our hopes this year is that some of our guests are able to come here, be warm, be able to clean up, get their laundry taken care of and kind of get some hope back into their lives," said Deacon Bryan Hilts of Catholic Charities.

Ropiak says nights are the most dangerous for homeless in the cold.

"When you're homeless you can't be in perpetual motion. Sooner or later you have to sleep and that's the dangerous time," said Ropiak.

Leaders hope these shelters will keep the homeless out of that danger.





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