Harsh weather has area homeless shelters feeling the crunchMoorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Overflow numbers at Churches United in Moorhead have doubled since 2010. Over the last several days harsh weather conditions have made more and more people seek shelter.
Overflow numbers at Churches United in Moorhead have doubled since 2010. Over the last several days harsh weather conditions have made more and more people seek shelter.
Churches United Shelter Operations Director John Roberts says this Wednesday was a record breaker for the amount of people looking for a warm place to sleep.
John Roberts – Director, Churches United: “Wednesday night we just hit the most we have hit yet this year.”
Not only did the shelter break a record in 2011, but this entire winter the shelter has seen an increase far more than years past.
John Roberts: “We were averaging 12 to 13 a night, with the maximum of 18 a year ago and now we are averaging 20 to 30 with a maximum of 34 this year.”
With the bone chilling forecast on Wednesday and Thursday Roberts was expecting numbers to be up.
John Roberts: “It is no surprise we had the largest number in overflow yet this season.”
Thanks to the help from churches like Elim Lutheran helping out with overflow, Churches United is able to keep up the the increasing numbers.
John Roberts: “We have been seeing numbers around 30 every night.”
All eight churches involved can take in up to 25 people per night. Elim Lutheran Pastor Sue Koesterman Also knew numbers would be up with the drop in temperatures, but they were prepared and ready.
Pastor Sue Koesterman – Elim Lutheran Church: “We have been able to keep up very well with the demand, volunteers have just been super, we can always use more volunteers, but volunteers have been super, the community response has been amazing, it has gone really, really well.”
With the help of all 8 Churches, Churches United is able to keep up with 50 people per night. If overflow was to go above and beyond this number Roberts says they have a plan to make sure no one would be turned away.
John Roberts: “What would happen, it would be that two churches would provide shelter during that given week.”
Something organizers don't want to see, but as winter continues and temperatures continue to drop, they are fully prepared.
The church program will end in March.