St. Louis County shares results of homelessness count, warming center efforts

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Public Health & Human Services Dept. • 320 West Second Street, Suite 605 • Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 726-2096 •

Linnea Mirsch




May 16, 2022


Dana Kazel, St. Louis County Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


Joel Kilgour, Duluth Warming Center Coordinator
218-340-4356 •


St. Louis County shares results of homelessness count, warming center efforts

The results of St. Louis County's 2022 annual Point in Time (PIT) Count, conducted in January, shows the continuation of a concerning trend. The number of people experiencing homelessness in St. Louis County continues to increase. The 2022 PIT Count recorded 606 individuals throughout the county who were homeless, including 234 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. This is a 20% increase compared to five years ago, with most of that growth in unsheltered homelessness.


This count occurs every January and is a one-day snapshot of how many people are experiencing homelessness in St. Louis County. It is assumed that actual numbers are much higher than this annual count, which occurs in January when it is hard to locate people. This year COVID also impacted the number of people surveyors were able to reach during the PIT count.


Meanwhile, several county partners who provided shelter this winter for people experiencing homelessness also have provided a recap of the number of people they served during the 2021-22 winter season, and the resources still being offered. 


April 1 marked the seasonal closing of the Duluth Warming Center, which was located at the Rainbow Center at the beginning of the season and moved to its permanent location at the Lincoln Park Center in February. This winter, the Duluth Warming Center provided emergency overnight shelter to 554 individuals, including 57 youth. Additional warming center spaces were available at CHUM’s drop-in center throughout winter. These numbers continue to grow every year with all traditional emergency shelter beds at capacity. 


The Duluth Warming Center was managed by CHUM through close partnership with Duluth HRA and the Loaves & Fishes Community, with support from The City of Duluth, St. Louis County, Duluth Transit Authority, and Federal CARES Act funding.


With the closing of the Duluth Warming Center for the season, additional space continues to be available at the CHUM drop-in center. However, many community members are left with nowhere to go and will return to sleeping outside, in cars, and in places not meant for human habitation. 


In northern St. Louis County during the 2021-22 winter season, hotel vouchers were used to ensure emergency overnight shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Vouchers were used by 104 individuals, including 32 youth.


"It is very concerning to continue seeing this increase in the number of  people - especially the children - in our county experiencing homelessness," said Commissioner Patrick Boyle, who chairs the Health and Human Service Committee for the Board. "We appreciate the many partners who are working together to provide more resources and services, and also to reduce the barriers that can lead to homelessness."


"The Warming Center is a beginning step to address this crisis," said Joel Kilgour, CHUM Warming Center Manager. "Beyond the partners already named, thanks goes to Lake Superior Community Health Center for tending to the medical needs of our guests, and to Essentia for purchasing hundreds of winter boots and providing other supplies to prevent frostbite. Dozens of individuals and groups donated food and supplies, and over 60 people were trained as volunteers. Staff, many of whom have experienced homelessness themselves, went above and beyond to maintain a safe and welcoming space."


To seek help for someone experiencing homelessness, people are encouraged to call the outreach hotline. Phone numbers in the Duluth area are 218-461-8505 or 218-260-7573; or on the Iron Range, call 218-748-7357.