Homeless have place to go on cold nights

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For many of us, the cold isn't that big of a deal.

We go from our home to our car to our office, which are all comfortably heated. (Though I must say, the drafty old church where the Independent is located is a little chillier than most offices.) For us, winter means pretty snow falling outside the window, or ski trips, or buying new coats for the kids.

Of course, we might not be so ambivalent about winter if we had to stay outside 24 hours a day. Often, this is the case for the homeless, and on very cold nights, it can literally be unbearable. That's why the city wants the less fortunate to know that a warming shelter is available on cold nights.

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City reminds citizens of warming shelter as temperatures drop

As temperatures begin to drop, the City of Colorado Springs reminds citizens of area Warming Shelters for those in need.

“Whenever blizzard conditions exist or the ambient temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, we activate a Warming Shelter to provide a place for those in need to get out of the elements,” says Office of Emergency Management Manager Bret Waters.

The primary warming shelter is located at the Salvation Army’s R.J. Montgomery Center (709 S. Sierra Madre Ave.), which can currently accommodate 25 individuals. The overflow location is the Springs Rescue Mission (5 W. Las Vegas St.), which can provide shelter for an additional 20 individuals.

During blizzard conditions, individuals can check into the shelter after 7 p.m. and stay until conditions improve. During cold-weather activation, individuals can check in after 7 p.m. but must check out the following morning by 7 a.m., unless temperatures are expected to remain below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The Warming Shelters provide a safe refuge for those stuck outside during extreme winter weather conditions,” says Salvation Army Director Gene Morris.

Normal shelter services may not be available and shelter visitors are expected to follow all rules.

Among the Warming Shelter rules are:

No animals allowed in the shelter;
No weapons, drugs, alcohol or violent behavior;
Absolutely no smoking in the building;
All bags/backpacks will be secured and inaccessible;
Intoxicated individuals are not allowed and may be transported to Detox;
Violent individuals will be transported to the Criminal Justice Center (CJC), (jail);
Security Guard will check clients for weapons;
When leaving in the mornings, put blankets in laundry cart near door for cleaning;
Food and drink must be left in backpack. No food or drink in sleeping area.

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