Warming Center Offers Shelter On Cold Night
by Laura Monteverdi, Reporter
January 21, 2013 5:04 PM
In some areas on Sunday night, wind chills dropped over 20 and 30 degrees below zero.
Needless to say, these conditions only increased the threat of frostbite and hypothermia.
The safest place to be was inside where it was warm, but what about those who don’t have a place to call home? For at least one night or even several, the Salvation Army is offering a place for the homeless to take shelter.
"When you're given no other choice, you look at yourself and you ask yourself, What other option do you have?” said Lee Peneaux.
Lee Peneaux is homeless. He has no permanent place to call home. That's why the transient from Winner, South Dakota came to the warming site on Sunday night.
"If I didn't have the option of this place, then God only knows where I'd be at,” said Peneaux.
The place Peneaux is referring to is the Salvation Army's Warming Center on N Cliff Avenue in Sioux Falls. It’s a refuge for those with nowhere to turn, when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
"It's supposed to be 35 below wind chills. A guy can't make it outside," said Richard Anderson.
Anderson has been at the site for the last two weeks and has plans to stay for the next month.
“I've been staying at the Union Gospel Mission and I ran out time out of time there so I've really been thankful to come to this place,” said Anderson.
The warming site offers 80 cots and is open December through April. It not only provides the homeless with a bed, but blankets, pillows and food, the necessities after a bitter day outside.
“They walk the streets all day in the cold and their feet are all wet so they're exhausted when they get here so a lot of them do come in and go right to sleep," said Darlos Cook, a Crisis Center Worker at the Salvation Army.
With the beds on a first come, first serve basis, it's no surprise how quickly they fill up on cold nights.
“I worked last year as well and we had 35-40 people a night and I've been having around 65-70 people a night this year,” said Cook.
The center is open from 7 P.M. until 7 A.M., seven days a week.