STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Grants Pass discusses need for warming center

Leaders at a public forum held at Grants Pass Council Chambers said nearly 1,700 people are homeless in Josephine County. Grants Pass is the only city in Oregon that doesn't have a warming center.

Posted: Oct 9, 2019 11:58 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2019 12:02 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Leaders at a public forum held at Grants Pass Council Chambers Wednesday night said nearly 1,700 people are homeless in Josephine County. Many told stories about meeting people who lost fingers and toes and even feet to frost bite last winter. Other cities around southern Oregon are already starting to open warming centers to prevent this from happening. Grants Pass can't do that. That's because the city doesn't have a warming center. Grants Pass is the only city in Oregon that doesn't. Leaders trying to put an end to homelessness said money wasn't an issue. They're struggling to find a place that would open their doors to the homeless at night.

"Warming centers give people a safe place to be so that they’re safe, the community is safe, they don’t get sick and people don’t die,” said United Community Action Network’s Chief Operating Officer Kelly Wessels. “We don't see homelessness easily. A lot of the people in need are the people that serve us lunch. They're the people who take care of us. They are working individuals but we just don't have enough housing in our community to house them all."

Brian Bouteller feels the opposite. He runs the Gospel Rescue Mission in Grants Pass. The organization helps homeless men and women get back on their feet again. Bouteller said winter warming centers only help the homeless for one cold night and don't fix the overall homelessness issue. He believes they actually enable homelessness.

"It actually incentivizes somebody not to have to change,” Bouteller said. “They take away the natural and good disincentive of being cold and having nowhere to go which is the disincentive of making the choice to be homeless. That's actually a good thing that should be driving them to change their minds."

Kelly Wessels said the point of a warmer center is to just help people when it's cold. It is just the beginning of how the community can help those experiencing homelessness.

"A warming center is really just an emergency response no different than if you had a fire, had people evacuated, and you needed a place for people to be temporarily. It's a part of the continuum of housing support and assistance. It's not the only silver bullet of it all. It needs to be a part of it," Wessels said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 10817

Reported Deaths: 224
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah260872
Marion169751
Washington167620
Clackamas89425
Umatilla8346
Union3631
Lincoln3494
Lane2533
Malheur2351
Deschutes2240
Polk16612
Linn16510
Yamhill1649
Jackson1570
Jefferson1370
Klamath1311
Morrow1191
Benton986
Hood River980
Wasco971
Josephine611
Douglas560
Clatsop550
Coos480
Columbia450
Lake220
Crook150
Tillamook150
Wallowa110
Curry90
Baker80
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 292560

Reported Deaths: 6718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1232563643
Riverside21957515
Orange20225376
San Diego17842406
San Bernardino16586293
Imperial7464125
Fresno728184
Alameda7245142
San Joaquin581761
Kern575987
Santa Clara5552165
Tulare5298148
Sacramento477678
Contra Costa424186
San Francisco407150
Ventura385850
Santa Barbara380830
San Mateo3743111
Marin323226
Stanislaus300450
Kings282338
Monterey227017
Solano192227
Merced162311
Sonoma148714
Placer97011
Madera8578
San Luis Obispo8453
Yolo76028
Santa Cruz5033
Napa4534
Sutter3234
San Benito3042
Butte2954
El Dorado2800
Lassen2670
Shasta1715
Humboldt1574
Nevada1551
Yuba1543
Glenn1530
Lake1001
Colusa980
Mendocino980
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Del Norte580
Tuolumne580
Mono491
Amador350
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Brookings
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 56°
Grants Pass
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Klamath Falls
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 56°
Warming up the rest of the week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events