VIGO CO, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In the coming weeks, temperatures could potentially reach dangerously low temperatures. That means those in need could face even bigger challenges, including lack of shelter and less food.
It has been weeks of preparations for non-profit organizations as they anticipate freezing temperatures.
To help out, the Homeless Council of the Wabash Valley is preparing by anticipating the worst. This year, the organization plans to have better shelter space with a developed food schedule.
Co-Chair of the Council Danielle Elkins said this service is a big need for the community.
“We have lost lives due to homelessness,” she said. “It’s very important to provide such a place being a part of this community. It’s a community effort, it’s important for them to have a place so they can be warm.”
Fellow Council member and Vigo County Commissioner Brendan Kearns said the organization has evaluated protocols taken in previous shelters and plans to create a more efficient plan.
“A lot of people choose to be homeless,” he said. “We are here to provide resources for those who don’t have a shelter or maybe even living out of their car. It’s important people stay safe.”
Potential locations for a shelter have been discussed, but not made public. The shelter will only be open on days below zero degrees or if there are other high risk weather conditions, wind-chill, moisture, etc.
For the Salvation Army in Vigo County during frigid temperatures, requests for rapid re-housing and rental assistance increase by 50%. Core Officer Jeremy Fingar said it is critical those in need continue to check for availability.
“To see someone go from a state of crisis to a state of security is always rewarding,” he said. “Christmas is a season of hope and it’s always nice to give hope to someone who is in need.”
Information about available resources and housing assistance can be found on their website.
From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Catholic Charities of Terre Haute serves hot meals daily at the Ryves Hall Youth Center.
“We encourage everyone to come in especially during the colder temperatures to sit in and enjoy a cup of coffee,” Jennifer Buell, Assistant Agency Director, said. “Our staff enjoys getting to know who comes in.”
While the Bethany House provides shelter, the space available limits the number of occupants. There are waitlists available to check the availability of rooms and other resources on Catholic Charities of Terre Haute’s website.
Buell said partnerships are the biggest factor in ensuring assistance is always available.
“We recognize that at Catholic Charities we cannot provide all of the services everyone needs. It would be unrealistic to think one organization can,” she said. “But, through partnerships and collaborations throughout the community, we try to meet those services.”