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Genesee Co. prison hall used as overflow shelter | News

For those of homeless central Michigan, those winter nights can be brutal.

As Flint’s warming centers help dozens of people, COVID-19 safety spacing is preventing some from having a place to sleep in typical shelters.

The cold keeps people inside, but for those without an interior, Catholic Charities has a warming center and overnight shelter.

Charles Shumpert stayed at the center for about a month.

“It’s a place to get away from nowhere. But it’s the best shelter for me in this situation,” said Shumpert.

Sunday and Monday evening, the center had to turn away a dozen people.

“We felt like we would be at our capacity. And we know the sheriff’s department has helped in the past. They’ve opened up their hall for the overflow. And with the shelters full, you know, between covid and everything in between. everything is pretty much full and at full capacity, ”said Vicky Schultz, CEO of Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties.

The center can generally accommodate more than 100 people. Now around 70 due to COVID-19.

Board of Trustees Chair Domonique Clemons helped organize the Genesee County Jail Hall as an overflow shelter.

“We did what we do in Genesee County. We came together to protect our community. It’s the community that helps the community, that’s what we’re known for here in Genesee County for us. making sure everyone is safe on those cold nights, ”Clemons mentioned.

When the warming center fills up, only a fraction of the people they refuse make it to the Genesee County Jail. They hope the others will find another shelter.

Two people went to the prison on Sunday evening and five were there on Monday. Emergency manager Jeff Wilson considers this to be five potentially saved lives.

“One of the most important things that is causing trouble right now is COVID. And not just with the people in need of shelter, but also with the people who work there,” Wilson said.

Any homeless shelter in Genesee County can now use the jail as an overflow if needed.