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Egan Warming Center providing shelter through sub-freezing temperatures

FILE - Egan Warming Centers (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. - The frigid temperatures mean that the Egan Warming Centers are being activated for the first time since Christmas.

When the center activates, it takes days of preparation by volunteers. For one person, the Warming Center means a lot more than keeping warm.

On Monday night, a church basement will be transformed into one of Lane County's warming centers for homeless people. The centers are activated when temperatures dip below thirty degrees.

"Even though I have some type of shelter and a good sleeping bag and a good comforter, just the act of getting up and needing to use the restroom or anything that involves getting out from under that, well, it's cold," said Thomas Aletich.

To Aletich, the centers are more than a place to keep warm.

"It's like a get-together, and you get to see, 'Oh here's my friend, they're okay,'" said Aletich.

Director Shelley Corteville says she needs about 60 volunteers to run this Springfield Center. Some volunteers are needed for greeting people at the door, and others for serving a variety of duties overnight.

"And then in the early morning shift, we have a clean up crew, the kitchen crew, the shift lead, the outtake crews," said Corteville. "You know, it's a big process, this is a big deal."

For the guests, the Warming Center makes a huge difference, giving a temporary home for one night, to those who don't have one.

Corteville says they didn't think the centers would need to reopen this season because of the warmer weather last week.

The warming centers will remain on standby for Tuesday night.


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