Shelters work to help the homeless during cold temps

Shelters work to help the homeless during cold temps

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Some Toledo-area homeless shelters say these cold temperatures caught them by surprise this early in the year. They're doing their best to help keep people warm, but can only do so much.

You may have been cold while outside Friday and rushed inside for warmth. Some people in our own city can't do that, when the temperatures go down they need to find shelter.

St. Paul's Community Center has 35 beds and they say they are full with men and women every single night.

"We got caught by surprise this season usually it doesn't really really get cold until probably the end of December or early January," said Joseph Habib, executive director with St. Paul's Community Center. "Well sometimes having the limited funding that we have it's a tough choice to have to make."

Despite the cold, they are only able to take in enough people for their beds at this time. Funding is limited for the shelter that provides basic needs and begins the conversation on housing, jobs and more.

They are able to get funding during the coldest months of January, February and March providing what they call "winter crisis" where they can accept 45 more people on cots. Doing this however, means they need additional resources and they cannot just throw it together in a week.

"If you have an additional 45 individuals in this space you need safety so we need to get a deputy sheriff maybe to provide that safety," said Habib. "You need the staff, you know people come in and they are hungry, you need the food the resources you're not prepared to cook another 45 maybe dinners."

At St. Paul's they say donations always help them to better serve the homeless. The winter months require more food, personal hygiene items and monetary donations so they can help as many as possible. Donations can be made at their location on 13th Street in Downtown Toledo, at their website or by calling their office at 419-255-5520.

"If the trend [of cold weather] continues too much then we may make the decision just to not turn anybody away and we make it on a limited staff and we hope for the best," Habib said.

While St Paul's Community Center is operating at their normal level, Cherry Street Mission says they are prepared to take in as many as needed during this early freezing weather.

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