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Milwaukee seeks to end homeless encampments around city

NOW: Milwaukee seeks to end homeless encampments around city

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Milwaukee police, firefighters and non profits all met with aldermen Wednesday to find a way to get the homeless people living in tents into shelter.

“Housing ends homelessness, but shelter ends suffering,” said Shelly Sarasin, founder of Street Angels.

Alderman Bob Donovan had asked Marquette to let the city use one of their vacant buildings as a temporary solution, but the university said they weren’t in position to do so.

“As a roman catholic myself, i cannot help but be a little, just a little, disappointed, that Marquette chose to end this conversation before it began,” Donovan said.

Alderman suggested changing city rules for warming centers to open their doors at 32 degrees, instead of 10 degrees like it is now, but non-profits say the money isn’t there.

“This is a problem that is bigger than individual donations," Impact Warming Room Chairwoman Emily Kenney said. "This is something that needs government involvement.”

Warming centers like Repairers of the Breach say the public hearing was a good start moving in that direction.

“The aldermen and the city saying we want to do something, and we understand we need to do something, and we understand we need to do something sooner than later," Repairers of the Breach Executive Director James West said. "And asking us what do we need, that’s refreshing.”

Aldermen say they’re considering putting a package together to fund these centers in the next month.

"Where we can scratch, ask, leverage, we’ll see what that looks like, what the dollar amount is,” Alderman Jose Perez said.

Advocacy groups say if you want to donate to warming centers, the simplest way is to go through United Way.

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