'Capacity cut in half': Milwaukee area homeless shelters adjust during pandemic, prepare ahead of winter

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is now underway.

This comes as many shelters are dealing with capacity limits because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Milwaukee Rescue Mission is currently providing 150-200 people with shelter on a nightly basis.

“Our capacity has been cut in half on account of the pandemic,” President Pat Vanderburgh said.

With colder weather on the way, they’re hoping to find more space for up to 300 people.

“The numbers have been inching up, so for us that’s been helpful, so now we can be a little bit more deliberate in trying to plan where we’re going to put people,” he explained. “Keeping them out of the cold and then once they’re in the building, keeping them safe from the virus.”

The Guest House of Milwaukee, which provides emergency services and community-based services, also has reduced capacity.

“This year obviously with the pandemic things are looking different,” Guest House of Milwaukee Director of Development Amy Rowell said.

Rowell said whether it's summer or winter, they're always full and right now, they’re seeing a different need.

“We’ve seen a tremendous growth in our prevention and outreach services, meaning for people who have lost their income, whose housing has become more unstable,” she said.

Anyone who is in need of help is asked to contact 211 to get connected to services.

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