The Freedom Warming Center locations are open Monday even though it wasn’t the plan.
As people left one of the Santa Barbara locations, the Unitarian Society, this morning, some asked for another night to stay out of the cold.
“We try to mobilize on short notice and that’s what happened tonight. The cold snap has persisted longer than expected and we’re here,” said Reverend Julia Hamilton, the minister at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara.
Over 50 people are expected to spend the night at the center on Monday.
“If you show up just once, you’ll know you’re in the right place. They’re extremely happy and pleased to get a meal and socialize with people. Often they walk down the street and people avoid them. In here, they get the care they deserve… that every human deserves,” said Jon Diaz, Freedom Warming Centers.
One of the residents is a former taxi cab driver named Kelly Romero. His life changed after he suffered a heart-attack.
“I went to the ER just to use the bathroom in the middle of the night because it was a nice clean place to go and I woke up 3 days later in ICU,” said Kelly Romero, of Santa Barbara.
Romero has spent the night at the shelter a few times. He prefers it over other shelters in Santa Barbara County.
The Freedom Warming Centers will be closed in the south county locations until Christmas Eve. It will be open on December 24 and 25.