In 2019, warming spaces expanded hours because of a winter storm. (NNS file photo by Ana Martinez-Ortiz)

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit

With forecasters predicting a difficult winter, authorities suggest residents who need a place to keep warm call 2-1-1.

By calling 2-1-1, the staff can help determine the best resources for your situation, said Emily Kenney, the coordinated entry coordinator at IMPACT 211, which provides free, confidential help and online resources to residents in crisis.

If you are calling for housing resources, one of the first questions the coordinated entry team will ask is where you slept last night.

“We want to know if there is some sort of doubling-up situation that we can salvage while we get other resources in line,” Kenney said.

Kenney said when temperatures plunge dangerously low, the coordinated entry team will send people to warming sites.

Over the Christmas weekend, for example, the Milwaukee Continuum of Care expanded its usual efforts to shelter everyone facing the cold. The staff took to social media to request help and share information on where people could shelter.

“We are in such good communication with one another. We know when a warming site is at capacity,” she said. “So we can point people to a site with openings rather than one that’s already full.”

The Milwaukee Continuum of Care organizes people and resources to end homelessness in Milwaukee.

According to Kenney, when calling 2-1-1, people should be prepared to share their situation fully and honestly.

“Sometimes people say what they think we need to hear to provide resources,” she said. “But what’s important is that we know exactly what they are going through to provide the best help.”

For more information

To stay up to date with the Milwaukee Continuum of Care, you can follow its Facebook page.

“Don’t hesitate to call,” said Kenney. “We want to get people warmth and safety.”