A homeless person is believed to have died after spending a night out in the cold.
Janesville police on Tuesday contacted Community Action, a nonprofit that oversees homelessness initiatives, about a person who was found dead that morning near a dumpster after being in the cold overnight, said Marc Perry, planning and development director for the nonprofit.
Janesville Police Department reports showed a death investigation took place at 20 S. Main St. at 10:58 a.m. Monday. Because of the date discrepancy, it’s unclear if Perry and the police reports were referring to the same death.
Perry told The Gazette the nonprofit was not made aware of the individual’s identity, cause of death or circumstances surrounding the death in the case that was reported to the group.
Janesville and Beloit police departments notify Community Action when an incident occurs involving the county’s homeless population, Perry said.
Temperatures dropped into single digits between Monday night and Tuesday morning. National Weather Service records taken at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport showed the temperature at 10 degrees around midnight and 1 degree at 5:45 a.m. before creeping up to Tuesday’s high of 18 degrees.
On Sunday night into Monday, temperatures ranged from 30 degrees at about midnight to 19 degrees at 7:45 a.m.
There are between 350 and 400 homeless people in Rock and Walworth counties at any given time, Perry said.
Many people are in situational homelessness—meaning an event or unexpected cost caused them to be out of a home for some period of time. Others are chronically homeless with nowhere to stay for long periods of time, Perry said.
Catherine W. Idzerda contributed to this story.