Feb 5, 2014 11:33 PM by Maddie Garrett

Finding Shelter from the Cold: Homeless Shelters Filling Up

When temperatures dip as low as they've been this week, homeless shelters go into overdrive trying to make sure no one has to spend the day, or the night, on the streets. But sometimes it can be difficult for the homeless to find a warm place to stay.

Kevin Autry knows what it's like to spend a few winter nights outside in the cold.

"It's really bad, can't stay still for too long, sometimes I can't even really sleep I just get up and walk around just to keep moving so I won't freeze to death," said Autry.

But on Wednesday night, where the wind chill is at least -20 degrees or lower, he knows outside is not an option.

"I'm here to get overnight cold weather shelter, I have nowhere else to go," explained Autry as he stood outside the Springs Rescue Mission.

But there's not always enough room at the Springs Rescue Mission, it only has 35 beds. Organizers have people sign up on a list during the day, usually about 60 people put their names down. Then a lottery is drawn, only the top 35 people drawn are guaranteed a spot. The remainder can get a referral or voucher for one of the other two emergency homeless shelters in Colorado Springs.

During the cold days, it's a different story. The Springs Rescue Mission, normally only open at night, will open its doors during the day if the high temperature is 20 or below. Everyone is welcome as the shelter serves lunch, provides games and programming for the homeless.

"It makes it harder because we go into a seven by 24 mode, and we don't change any of our staffing so it's everybody scrambling to make it happen," said Terry Anderson, VP of Administration for Springs Rescue Mission.

But for those who can't get in to the Springs Rescue Mission at night, they can either go to the Salvation Army's RJ Montgomery Center or get bused to Lighthouse Mobile Ministries. On nights as cold as Wednesday, all three shelters will fill up quick.

"It's a blessing, where are we supposed to go, where's the homeless supposed to go, are we supposed to freeze outside?" Albert Lucero said about the shelters.

Winter is especially tough for the homeless, if you'd like to find out more about how you can help, follow the links below:

Springs Rescue Mission:

Salvation Army:

Lighthouse Mobile Ministries:

Posada Pueblo:



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