Warming Center opens in Allentown as bitter cold wind chills start

A “Code Blue” is in effect across Allegheny County, meaning the next few days are going to be dangerously cold with high temperatures in the high teens and low 20s. Warming centers are crucial for those who need a safe place to go.

For the second time this season, Abiding Missions on Excelsior Street in Allentown has activated its 28 Below Warming Center, converting its community center between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the chilliest of days. People of all ages and families have access to two hot meals, a place to rest, and much more.

“Allentown does have a history of folks in hoses without utilities, without proper heating, cooling, water, all of those things,” said Jordan Shoenberger, executive director of Abiding Missions. “Each day is very different. We’ll see what today brings.”

After 3 p.m., the center closes for the night but offers people rides to area shelters it partners with, like Second Avenue Commons and Light of Life.

Abiding Missions helps people five days a week, so no one in need will be turned away, even on warmer days. It does rely on some food donations from the community and are always grateful for the support.

“[We want to] make sure that folks know that we’re open. Even if nobody comes on a certain day, we’re still happy that we can be available and present,” Shoenberger said.

Pittsburgh city officials said CitiParks only opens warming shelters if the high is 20 degrees or lower.

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