Homeless breathing a sigh of relief after Weber warming shelter - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Homeless breathing a sigh of relief after Weber warming shelter opens

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The Salvation Army's second warming shelter on Weber Street has officially re-opened after a year and a half closure.

On Wednesday, the Colorado Springs Downtown Review Board just approved a temporary use permit to operate the emergency warming shelter through the middle of April.

Many who took advantage of the open shelter on Wednesday night say they are thankful for this decision because they had no other place to go. 

For 61-year-old Judy Passtore, things have never been easy.

"It'll take some stress off," she said.

She's been living outside for the past few months and breathed a sigh of relief as she watched city officials approve the shelter she's been hoping for.

"Good, now we have a place to go because it's harder for a woman out here," she said.

She says living without a shelter or even a safe bathroom has posed a threat to her health.

"We can't hydrate, we have to stop drinking at a certain point because there's no porta potties, there's no place to go to the restroom," she said.

And she, wasn't alone.

"If you lay down, you can freeze to death, you've gotta keep moving, you've gotta keep moving, because if you fall asleep, you get hypothermia," another homeless man said. "If it wasn't for tonight, we'd be walking around trying to stay warm."

The Salvation Army says the need is great, five people have died because of the cold since October.

Their other shelter on Sierra Madre holds 220. The Springs Rescue Mission can house around 300 but both are at capacity.

This shelter now adds 150 more places to sleep.

"It's nothing fancy, it's literally a mat and a blanket but it gets people out of the cold weather," Lt. Richard Larson of the Salvation Army said. "It's to help get people out of the elements and to help save lives and other health risks that happen outside in the cold like frostbite and hypothermia."

Something Passtore hopes will eventually get her back on her feet.

"I can come in here at night, I can deal with looking for a place and doing other things that I need to do without having to worry about, oh it's going to be cold and that and this," she said. I know I can come here, lay down relax and sleep."

In order to be good neighbors, folks staying at this warming shelter will now be lining up in the back parking lot instead of on Weber. They're also bringing in porta potties and will have extended their hours in the mornings so people aren't being released in the middle of rush hour.

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