Burlington, VT — The effects of cold weather on those facing homelessness are dangerous but warming centers like the Community Resource Center in Burlington are open and provide shelter and food for all in need.

The shelter, run by the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity has seen the number of daily visitors triple.

“This year, we are averaging around 75,” Abbey Germyn, project coordinator said. “Last winter we were averaging around 15.”

Only 18 people are allowed in at a time, but visitors can get free winter clothing like hats, mittens and a sweater.

“Our guests have to sign in and do a COVID health screening form and get their temperature taken upon arrival,” Germyn said. “We also serve food and hot meals and coffee and tea throughout the day that is keeping folks warm on days like this. We are really concerned about folks today and going into this week.”

A local, Jonathan, comes to the shelter about four times a week.

“It’s the biggest help that we have,” he said. “Coffee, food, pit stop, good conversations and try to help anyone I can.”

Dr. Chance Sullivanat the University of Vermont Medical Center said people experiencing homelessness are one of the highest risk populations for developing frostbite.

“Often times you might start to notice some pain, some redness and some swelling, at the hands at the nose at the feet, these are some of the most commonly places that are affected,” Dr. Chance Sullivan said.

Dr. Sullivan said layers are key, along with finding warming shelters such as the Community Resource Center.

The CVOEO is in need of clothing donations. To find out how to help, click here.