COLORADO SPRINGS — Severe cold weather like this is dangerous for Colorado Springs vulnerable and homeless population. However, local organizations and agencies are helping the community out to make sure they have a warm place to stay.
Cold weather events like this are one of the busiest times of the year for the Springs Rescue Mission. On Wednesday night, 436 people and 27 animals didn't sleep outside, and instead got warmth and shelter.
Jeff Harmon was one of the people who slept at the mission.
“It’s bitter cold, but they keep us warm here, and they really do a good job,” said Harmon, who doesn’t have a home. “It’s not a picnic at all. It's very stressful. But you're at least getting your meals here, you have a place to shower, a place to wash your clothes, and all the things that a lot of people take for granted.”
With temperatures even colder tonight, the Springs Rescue Mission is ready and prepared for yet another busy night. The Mission can sleep up to 450 people every night.
“When the temperatures drop like they did last night, we move into what we call emergency services protocols, which means that we're going to do everything we can to extend hours, particularly with our indoor facilities,” said Travis Williams, the chief development officer at the Springs Rescue Mission.
Williams also said they're opening up other areas of the mission so people can stay warm. Today, they opened up two day-center, when normally one day-center is open.
The Springs Rescue Mission also works closely with the Colorado Springs Police Department's homeless outreach team. Today and yesterday, the team visited areas in town where homeless people camp and gather. Those areas are mostly in the downtown area near Tejon St. and Nevada Ave. Their goal is to encourage people to go to a local shelter for at least the next 24 hours and stay safe indoors.
“There are other organizations that are going out and telling people saying, ‘hey, it's going to be cold. Get down to a one of the shelters.’ And the Springs Rescue Mission is one of the primary shelters, so it is a collaborative effort of so many good people coming together.”
The Springs Rescue Mission also works closely with transportation providers like Mountain Metro Transit. Buses are running and helping people who don't have a home. Today, they also bussed people to the Springs Rescue Mission. Another bus will be on standby tonight to help if needed.
“So when these temperatures drop, we're talking with emergency management services, we’re talking with the HOT team, we’re talking with transportation providers to ensure that those who are out in the community can find safe spaces,” said Williams.
The Springs Rescue Mission will also be providing a Christmas meal to those in need tomorrow. They expect to feed up to 600 people.
For more information about the Springs Rescue Mission, click here.
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