Local Shelters Expecting Overflow as Temperatures Plummet

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- With the first true cold blast set to hit the metro in more than a month, many people will find themselves out in the cold.

Central Iowa Shelter Services is preparing for big crowds.

“Since we opened in 2012, we have been over our bed capacity every night and have had people sleeping in chairs,” said Tony Timm, executive director of Central Iowa Shelter and Services.

This, despite the fact that winter so far has been more mild than wild.

When the weather does turn for the worst like it`s forecast to, a little bit of overflow can get out of hand.

“A lot more people period in the chairs and the beds. It`s a full house when it gets cold,” Willie Kersey, a resident at CISS.

When wind chills dip below 10 degrees, winter amnesty goes into effect allowing anyone, even those who have already stayed past the ninety day limit to come in and take refuge from the cold.

Timm says winter amnesty equals a spike in numbers.

“With the predicted forecast coming, I anticipate we`ll see another 50-80 people trying and getting out of the elements tonight,” Timm told Channel 13 News.

Timm says the shelter will take anyone without a combative past and at least be able to offer a roof over their heads and a chair or table to get some shut eye.

'We`re not turning anyone way. We believe in trying to make sure people are safe and has a place to warm up and get out of the elements,” said Timm.

It may not sound like much, but if you`re running out of options, it may be your best.

'I never used to appreciate this place, but I’ve come to appreciate that this is one of the better places to be if you need somewhere to be,” said Kersey.

Central Iowa Shelter and Services says it is always in need of donations. On top of cash, it will accept gloves, hats, socks, toiletries, and other winter items.


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