With temperatures falling fast and the forecast for overnight lows in the teens on both Thursday and Friday, the Salvation Army Warming Shelter in Madison will be open both nights to provide a place for the city’s homeless to seek relief from the bitter cold.

Dave Adams, a local advocate for the homeless and volunteer at the shelter, said he expects six to eight adults to use the facility, located at the corner of Main and Walnut streets, the next two nights before warmer weather moves back into the area later in the weekend. He said volunteers are ready to staff the facility and those who stay there will get a meal and a warm place to sleep.

The shelter will open at 7 p.m. for registration and a meal will be provided then for those staying the night. They can then either stay where it’s warm or leave until 10 p.m. when the doors will be locked with no more allowed in or re-entries from then until 7 a.m. when the door will reopen.

Adams said some of the city’s homeless have been able to get vouchers from local churches and individuals to spend a night in a local motel room but he’s encouraging churches and others to send their homeless to the warming shelter where there is more supervision, a secure place and meal provided.

Homeless who register at the shelter also receive additional help and counseling when possible.

“I’ve called some of the churches and asked them to send them our way where we’ve got meals and other things that they need,” Adams said. “I’m sure they really like the hotel rooms and that freedom but this is much better than an unsupervised situation. We can help them in other ways if we can get them to come here. We can’t help these people unless we can see these people.”

In addition, weeks of work and planning were invested and thousands of dollars in local donations were collected to see that the shelter could reopen this winter and provide services to the homeless.

Adams said their are currently no children among those staying at the shelter but that the facility doesn’t turn anyone away who agrees to follow its rules such as no smoking, drinking or drug use.

Currently most of the homeless served at the facility are in their 40s and 50s with one in the 70s.