INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 17, 2013, 09:41 PM

Winter near; local shelters already full

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - As fall becomes winter and the nights grow colder, area homeless shelters are already bursting at the seams.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - As fall becomes winter and the nights grow colder, area homeless shelters are already bursting at the seams.

Both Churches United and the New Life Center say they are seeing more people than ever before, and it doesn't bode well for the long winter ahead.

The number of people staying in local homeless shelters has steadily increased for the past five years.

It is now at the point where the shelters are completely full and have to turn people away.

And the nights are getting colder…

For the past four weeks, David McDonald has been homeless.

David McDonald- New Life Center Resident: "It's been crazy. It's not fun, but a learning experience."

Laid-off from a factory job back home in Ohio, he found a traveling magazine sales job on Craigslist.

McDonald: "Came up here with them from Ohio; kind of realized after a couple days it wasn't legit."

He asked for a bus ticket home, as promised. Instead, they left him here; stranded in a strange town with no connections.

McDonald is one of 103 men now staying at the New Life Center in Fargo. Many, like him, came to the area looking for work.

But the center is at capacity. It has been for months, and they turn men away every night.

Rob Swiers- New Life Center Executive Director: "To look at someone and say, ‘We can't let you stay here,’ and it's 38 degrees outside: That's gut-wrenching."

Churches United for the Homeless has been over its 65-person capacity for years, and the number of people in overflow is growing.

Last September, they averaged six in overflow. That jumped to 18 this September.

Executive Director John Roberts says he doesn't see an end to the alarming trend.

John Roberts- Churches United for the Homeless: "As the population grows, that includes all economic levels and situations."

As the weather grows colder, McDonald says he's grateful to have a place to stay as he gets back on his feet.

McDonald: "Going from having no safety net to having somewhere to sleep and eat is good."

Local churches help out, taking about 30 extra people during the winter, but that program doesn't start until mid-November.

Tags: