Warming Centers, Shelters Offer the Homeless Respite from Frigid Temps

Feb 19, 2015

Donald Robinson is staying out of the cold in Light of Life's warming area. The mission is offering the space, access to bathrooms, snacks and hot chocolate.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As Pittsburgh deals with single-digit temperatures and subzero wind chills, some organizations are looking out for the city’s most vulnerable — the homeless.

There are several warming centers open throughout the city, including the Greenfield Senior Center and the South Side Market house Senior Center. There are also numerous churches and shelters offering a respite from the cold.

Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side has opened their doors during the deep freeze and offers a warming center.

“It’s tough out there, being homeless,” said Donald Robinson, who said he’s been homeless for about six weeks, “people shying away from you or thinking you have some kind of disease, which you don’t, but that’s the way people look at you, but since I’m here I have a nice warm place to sleep.”

Light of Life serves about 250 to 300 meals each day, breakfast and dinner, and during this cold they will provide some lunches and a steady supply of hot chocolate.

The mission also offers emergency shelter and larger programs that offer shelter and assistance to men and women. The North Side facility is open 365 days a year, but gets more attention from the public during specific times.

“Especially at this time of year it’s easy to see that folks that have to spend the night outside. It’s unacceptable,” said Craig Schweiger, executive director of Light of Life. “It’s unacceptable to we as a Christian organization, but also to the community.”

In addition to the warming center, Light of Life also gives out hats, scarves, gloves and other cold weather gear as needed.