Mecklenburg County warming center remains closed despite extreme cold


CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — Mecklenburg County has waived most restrictions at homeless shelters due to the extreme cold and so families can stay together. Extra beds and blankets are also available at all shelters. Despite the extreme cold, a warming center in not open within Mecklenburg County.
Another night of extreme weather in the Queen City had County Commissioner Pat Cotham worried Wednesday night.
“It is cold here in Mecklenburg County,” said Cotham.
Wednesday was another night without a warming center.
“I think we are failing and that disappoints me,” said Cotham.
Commissioner Cotham took matters into her own hands and ventured out late Wednesday night to pass out hand and toe warmers to those in need and are left out on the street.
“We have sufficient capacity at all of our shelters including the inn,” said County Manager, Dena Diorio.
At Wednesday nights County Commissioners meeting, Diorio said the weather hasn’t met the criteria for opening a warming center which is a wind chill of 10 degrees or below for 24 hours.
“We are not a shelter. We do not provide shelter,” said Diorio.
Those helping the homeless, like the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, tell FOX 46 Charlotte they’ve been in extreme overflow since the weekend, but aren’t at capacity. If that situation changes at shelters across the county, or temperatures continue to drop, a warming center may open.
“It’s one thing to have one day of it, but we have had multiple days some people are really struggling with this,” said Cotham.
“We have  been having calls everyday at 11:00 a.m. to evaluate the situation and if we need to make another decision we will,” said Diorio.

If a warming center opens in Mecklenburg County it would be at the Grady Cole Center. The decision to open that center is made between county leaders, emergency management and Charlotte city leaders.

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