By Naomi Spencer, 29 January 2011:
Budget cuts carried out on the quiet have prevented emergency warming centers in Detroit from opening their doors all winter, leaving thousands of homeless and poor residents in the bitter cold. Homeless advocates were given little notice that the city had eliminated all funding to operate the single remaining warming center, Operation Get Down, on Detroit’s east side.
A decade ago, Detroit operated three warming centers, funded with $500,000. This already slim budget has been chopped away over the past few years, forcing closure and consolidation of services.
At the same time, homelessness has swelled and thousands of other Detroit residents suffer without gas and electricity in the winter months. Last year, the city provided only $182,000 to Operation Get Down. In June 2010, the homeless aid was among $115 million cut from the city budget.
The center provided a last resort for homeless people to find respite from the cold, especially those with drug addictions, mental illness, or criminal backgrounds, who may not meet requirements imposed by some homeless shelters or religious charity operations. Read more>>