(COLORADO SPRINGS) — After sub-zero temperatures throughout the night and into the morning on Thursday, local organizations around Colorado Springs armed up to help those out on the streets.
“We have lots of people getting respite from the cold,” said Travis Williams, Chief Development Officer for the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission. “And then, we’re providing meals throughout the day, laundry services are going on, there are shows being watched and Bible studies being held.”
These warming shelters prepped in advance for the frigid weather to come through.
“When these situations happen, cold temperatures move in. It is all hands on deck at Springs Rescue Mission to ensure that anybody who needs shelter can find the shelter that they need,” Williams said.
Shelters said they immediately met that need.
“Homelessness is an emergency every day,” said Shawna Kemppainen, CEO of The Place. “And of course, the cold weather creates an emergency inside the daily emergency. So, we’re really creating a prepared response for any weather and making sure we can do as much outreach as we can to get young people off the street.”
The Colorado Springs Police and The Place outreach teams moved out ahead of the storm to send as many people on the streets to a shelter as they can.
“[I was] talking to the outreach team as they were heading out,” Kemppainen said. “They were taking our van out and going to some of the camps that we know. Also going up to some of the malls.”
Then, the community showed up in spades.
“If there’s something about this community that I always see is Colorado Springs rallies when it needs to,” Williams said.
Jeane Turner, Community Relations Director for the Salvation Army echoed her appreciation for the people in Colorado Springs.
“I think Colorado Springs is doing a really good job right now meeting the needs of our community,” she said.
Because of the outpouring of shelters in the community opening their beds and doors, many shelters did not even reach capacity throughout the night.
“This is not the busiest night we’ve had,” Williams said. “And so, we’re thankful for many of the other service services providers that have also provided shelter tonight. It’s really helped create a very positive environment for those who need shelter during the cold.”
And not too soon, since Christmas is only days away.
“We anticipate serving a lot of people on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to ensure that our homeless neighbors experience the dignity and the representation that Christmas means to this world,” Turner said.