Orange County warming centers open despite staffing concerns

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County warming centers are now open, but officials say they have some staffing concerns with the cold front arriving over a holiday weekend.


Officials at the Homeless Services Network say staffing shelters is always a struggle, but during a holiday weekend, things will be even more difficult. However, they say they’re confident they’ll find a way to make it work, and help anyone who needs it.

READ: Here’s where you can find cold-weather shelters in Central Florida

“It’s hard enough to get staff, but now we’re going to be pulling in additional staff on a holiday weekend,” Homeless Services Network CEO Martha Are said. “That’s really hard.”

Are says HSN has been able to build on their experiences from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

READ: Central Florida law enforcement offering to recycle Christmas gift boxes to thwart thieves

“Lots of people are housing insecure, and don’t have good options,” Are said. “So the homeless shelters are prepared to expand capacity and take in additional people.”

Four shelters and two overflow locations are open through Monday. Are says they’re not just for people living on the street.

READ: Massive winter storm brings frigid temps, snow and ice to US

“They’ll also take people who are not just homeless, but in housing situations where the weather could still be dangerous or uncomfortable,” Are said.

The shelters won’t turn anyone away, Are says, but the expanded capacity could mean some people will be sleeping in hallways.

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