COLD SURVIVAL: Des Moines Shelter Full

The new Central Iowa Shelter and Services facility in Des Moines is twice the size of the old building. There are 50 beds for women, and 100 beds for men. On New Year’s Eve, when temperatures got as low as 1 degree, they were all full. Officials with the organization say when it gets that cold, they don’t turn people away: that meant more than 20 people slept on chairs New Year’s Eve.

“For a lot of Des Moines residents it’s very important, Howard Croweagle said of the shelter, “It could mean life or death especially when the temperature drops this year.”

Croweagle, a supervisor at the shelter, said lately they’ve seen an increase in people stopping by to warm up. On days that dip into the single digits, the shelter is open 24 hours, and they don’t turn anybody away. The facility not only offers protection from the cold, it also provides clothes to people who need them.  But Croweagle says the growing number of those looking for help in the metro is starting to make officials at the shelter a little nervous about being able to provide it.

“I think people should understand that its very crucial especially people who are not aware of the homeless situation, that we are in need of clothes, coats, gloves, those types of things, but also we are in need of supplies, so we can help people when they come in. a lot of times it taxes our supplies when we have this many more people coming into the shelter,” said Croweagle.

“The Central Iowa Shelter and Services building” also has a clothing closet, offering free clothes to anyone who is in need. But they say their supplies have taken a big hit recently, because of this cold weather. They are asking for donations of clothes, food and money at the shelter at 1420 Mulberry Street.


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