Looking for Shelter
Homeless shelters are finding their hands tied this holiday season.
They say the string of single digit weather the past few weeks has pushed people into shelters much sooner than normal, and has centers tearing at the seams -- particularly in the men's centers.
"We were ready for that, and it almost instantly went up to our full capacity in the mens shelter," said outreach director Dave Hanson, "We're seeing that pretty much continue."
Hanson says the two men's shelters the outreach center operates have filled up with almost 3 dozen men every night for the past few weeks.
That number wasn't expected until closer to Christmas.
Currently, the women and children's and family centers are doing just fine -- but the increasing amount of male clients may pour over into those empty spaces.
Coordinators say if that trends continues upward, they may have to look into partnering with other churches or integrating the young men with the adult men, anything to give these people in need a place to stay.
Currently, the outreach center operates 3 shelters around Yakima, and partners with other organizations such as the YWCA.
But with Mother Nature taking a slide in temperature, it may be time to look for more help.
"It's a way where people do freeze to death, frostbite is a terrible way to die," said Hanson, "We do want to have options available."
The Sunrise Outreach Center says it is also searching for more volunteers this holiday season -- right now they need about 500 volunteers to help operate the shelters around town, and they only have about half.