DES MOINES, Iowa – The extreme cold has dozens of people turning to Central Iowa Shelter and Services, and no one is being turned away.

“We’ve actually been operating under the weather amnesty plan for two weeks now,” Central Iowa Shelter and Services CEO Melissa O’Neil said. “Based on the weather temperatures and that 48 hours, we’re actually going to be operating through next Sunday. So while it’s getting cold tonight, we want to make sure that people are able to regain self-sufficiency not just during the weather event, but a little bit longer afterwards.”

CISS has 150 emergency shelter beds. During a weather amnesty, they can accept people beyond their capacity while temperatures continue to dip below ten degrees windchill.

Stays at CISS are normally prohibited after 90 days but the amnesty allows those guests to seek shelter as well. For special circumstances, there’s another option funded by the city.

“We need to take COVID into account. So we’re providing supplemental resources so that folks can safely social distance in the shelters which means we’re paying for hotel rooms if there’s an outbreak or there’s an overflow that we need to provide additional space,” Councilman Josh Mandelbaum, who represents Ward 3, said.

O’Neil said there are some conditions you have to meet in order to receive the hotel option. To learn more you can go directly to Central Iowa Shelter and Services located at 1420 Mulberry Street, or give them a call at 515-284-5719, ext. 6.