Cold temperatures bring high numbers to area shelters

WHO-TV

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The temperature in Des Moines dropped to two degrees early Sunday morning, which is the coldest temperature the Metro has seen since last February. 

This temperature range causes numbers to spike at area shelters. 

“We have 150 beds and about 40 to 50 people without beds, laying their heads on tables and trying to get a good night's rest on chairs. We are really full right now,” Kendrew Panyanouvong, Central Iowa Services and Shelter (CISS) marketing manager tells WHO-TV Channel 13.

As of Thursday, the shelter hit capacity and on Saturday night CISS had over 200 people in their facility.

“There’s some serious danger for folks out on the streets. So we let those folks in our shelter because of the weather,” Panyanouvong said.

When the wind chill is 10 degrees or below, the shelter operates in its weather amnesty status, going over capacity and letting individuals stay who may not normally be allowed. 

All of Des Moines' six public libraries are considered warming centers. They are not staffed to provide services, but do help shelters when living quarters get tight.

Over the past few days, CISS received so many donated clothes and blankets they had to turn some away, but Panyanouvong says they do need volunteers to help.

The Young Women's Resource Center is asking for warm clothing for women and children who might have a place to live, but no money for winter clothing to bundle up in the cold. 

"Anywhere from babies and toddlers up to age 21."  Kristen Griffith tells  Van and Bonnie in the Morning on Newsradio 1040 WHO. 

"We're really short right now on warm winter coats, as well as things like hats, mittens, and gloves.

For contact information on the Young Women's Resource Center go to www.ywrc.org.

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