PUEBLO — Sub-zero temperatures approaching are forcing the City of Pueblo to expand the Emergency Warming Shelter's hours of operation.
Pueblo's Transit Center downtown opened earlier in the week from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, providing shelter to the homeless people who need it. As temperatures this weekend drops to single-digits, the city is opening the shelter from 6:00 pm this Saturday through 6:00 am Monday, providing warmth for the entirety of Sunday.
“We don’t want anybody freezing to death on the streets, and we’re doing what we can to prevent that," said Mayor Nicholas Gradisar.
Amid the pandemic, places that would normally provide shelter to the homeless are struggling to offer indoor services. A sign on the outside of Pueblo Rescue Mission reads, "Dorms are closed every day from 9am-4pm" and the Community Soup Kitchen's indoor dining room is closed.
“Also because of COVID, we’re not able to accept clothing donations or coat donations, and it’s unfortunate but we can’t regulate anything," said Helen Belavidez, the Director of the kitchen.
However, Gradisar and Belavidez are both calling on the public to help keep Pueblo's homeless population safe during the freezing days ahead.
“The faith community... I would like to see them become more involved in terms of, if their churches or halls could be opened during the day that certainly would be helpful I think," said Gradisar.
“It’s just so cold and so frigid out there. I’m just worried that a lot of people are going to pass away in this cold weather,” said Belavidez. “If anybody can help out with hand warmers, feet warmers, anything of that nature, we would love to welcome those gifts."
Pueblo's Transit Center is located at 123 Court St, Pueblo, CO 81003.
Pueblo's Community Soup Kitchen is located at 422 W 7th St, Pueblo, CO 81003