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CARBONDALE — After three years in the making, Carbondale’s emergency warming center will open next week, according to a news release from the city.

A coalition of social service groups have worked for the last three years to provide an expanded number of beds during the cold winter months to serve the city’s homeless population. The Carbondale Interfaith Council, Carbondale Public Library, Good Samaritan House, Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, Jackson County Health Department, Centerstone, Sparrow Coalition and the City of Carbondale have all worked on the project.

The location of the center was changed abruptly from East Main Street to 705 East College Street. City Manager Gary Williams said the College Street location was a first choice but until this week was believed to not comply with legal requirements.

“We looked at a bunch of different locations and the College Street location was our top choice and it was our top choice because it’s more centered to the core of the community,” Williams said. He added that College Street would have less of an impact on the business and residential communities.

The location of the warming center came under fire during Tuesday’s Carbondale City Council meeting  when business leaders on that side of Carbondale said that the center would have a negative impact on their businesses — it would create more traffic from persons experiencing homelessness, who they believed would harass customers.

Ultimately a vote of 5-to-2 approved the center’s zoning certificate.

According to the news release the center will have paid staff and volunteers who are all trained in conflict de-escalation and bloodborne pathogen safety.

The center will operate from 8 p.m.-8 a.m. through April 1. No specific opening date was provided in the release. Those interested in using the space are asked to contact the Good Samaritan House at (618) 457-5794.

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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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Reporter

Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

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