During the citizens forum portion of Monday night’s Mesquite City Council meeting some District 4 residents showed up to voice their concerns regarding the upcoming warming center that would serve the unsheltered when the weather gets dangerously cold.
Weather Activated Refuge Mesquite (WARM) is a collaboration between nonprofit Sharing Life Community Outreach and several local partners. It was announced last month that a site had been secured for a warming center – the gym of Seventh-day Adventist Church located at 422 S. Ebrite St.
WARM is not a shelter and does not provide long-term housing assistance. The center will only be open when the forecast temperature is 32 degrees with a 20 percent chance of precipitation or a standing temperature of 28 degrees. WARM will open at 5 p.m. and close the following morning by 9 a.m.
There were those who spoke up in favor of the warming center as something that is much needed in the community, while several residents of District 4 were concerned about safety and upset they were not notified sooner or asked for their input.
One resident said when they voiced their concern they were made to look “selfish and un-Christian” for complaining.
“The members of our neighborhood who have already learned just recently of the shelter’s upcoming existence were done a disservice by only being notified about the shelter four days prior to the first training session held for volunteers, which allowed for virtually no time to comprehend what to expect,” said Cathy S. “Upon request, our District 4 Councilman Tandy Boroughs arranged for a quick meeting with the undertakers of this project in the form of a question-and-answer session. The meeting was to follow the training session for volunteers.”
She said the number of people present to be heard were much fewer than those that the center would impact in District 4.
“This most certainly comes from a blatant lack of notification by the city, or the church or Sharing Life,” she added.
WARM is a Sharing Life initiative but is being supported by the Mesquite Ministerial Alliance, Mesquite Seventh-day Adventist Church, Mesquite Office of Emergency Management and other individuals and churches.
Sharing Life CEO Teresa Jackson said the warming center has a capacity to hold up to 40 people maximum.
“All guests will sign in and provide photo ID if they have it. All guest names will be checked against the Registered Sex Offender database. Sharing Life staff has been trained in Mental Health First Aid, CPR, first aid and use of an AED,” she said “A uniformed Mesquite police officer will be present outside the WARM facility. Sharing Life has worked with other respected homeless alleviation organizations to learn from them. We have developed comprehensive policies and procedures manual with the assistance of the Mesquite office of Emergency Management. The Mesquite Police and Fire Departments will be among the first notified once an activation is declared."