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Where to stay warm and how to help in extreme cold

One way: Donate single-ride CTA passes

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The polar vortex has brought in record-breaking temperatures for Chicago and the state, and here’s how the city is handling it.

On Wednesday while Chicago Public Schools are closed, free activities like basketball or crafting will be run at some park fieldhouses from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. or longer if needed. Registration is required which can be done online or in person when you drop your child off.

Here is a list of 142 park fieldhouse operating as warming centers through winter. Maggie Daley Park’s ice ribbon will be closed Tuesday through Thursday. However, the Garfield Park Conservatory will remain open on Wednesday until 5 p.m.

Chicago Public Libraries will be open unless individual branches announce a closure on Wednesday. Locations that will be closed Wednesday include Archer Heights, Jeffery Manor, King, Merlo, South Shore, Popular Library at Water Works, and Wrightwood-Ashburn. More closures may happen so call ahead.

Unfamiliar with how the city can help? Head to our winter city resource list to see how to submit service requests for snow removal through 311, track plows to find out what streets are cleared, and how to use the underground Pedway path.

Officials are helping homeless people by extending hours at warming centers, adding extra beds at shelters and operating CTA buses as mobile warming centers. Police stations and hospitals are also opening their doors too.

Another way to help someone in need is to buy single ride CTA passes and hand them out or donate them. Local food pantries, Sarah’s Circle, One Warm Coat and Little Brothers are also organizations that could use help. Have other suggestions on ways to help? Email us or drop them in the comments.

Warming centers operated by Department of Family and Support Services will have extended hours this week for vulnerable populations. Two will be open as a 24-hour shelters—the Garfield Center at 10 S. Kedzie Avenue and King Center at 4314 S. Cottage Grove. Police stations and hospitals are also open as warming centers for people in need.

Four other facilities will be open longer from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Those include Englewood Center at 1140 W. 79th Street, North Area at 845 W. Wilson Avenue, South Chicago at 8650 S. Commercial Avenue, and Trina Davila at 4300 W. North Avenue.

DFSS partnered with Lyft and Uber so people could get a free ride to warming centers if needed. Use the code CHIJAYDEN19 with Lyft through Friday night and use DFSS with Uber through Thursday night to any warming center in the city.

For homeless people seeking a break from the cold, DFSS will be operating five roaming CTA buses throughout the city and five at O’Hare. Those who don’t want to stay in shelters can get a hot drink or a warm pair of socks, said Jennifer Rottner of DFSS.

If your landlord isn’t following the Heat Ordinance and keeping your apartment properly heated, they could face a $500 per day fine. All heat complaints to the city are being expedited, officials said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the governor issued a state disaster declaration, similar to a state of emergency, for the brutal weather to ensure municipalities have enough resources to take care of residents.