Dropping Temperatures Means Rising Need for Donations to Homeless Shelters

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The temperatures outside are dropping, and that means shelters are filling up.

Many homeless shelters in Des Moines are completely full, leaving many people without a warm place to spend the night. Some people pitch tents outside of the Central Iowa Shelter, which has been full for weeks.

“I have a lot of friends that are sleeping in tents right now,” says 21-year-old Jeremy Ebrecht, who is staying in one of the nine rooms at the Iowa Homeless Youth Center in Des Moines.

But the thought of his friends sleeping outside in the cold keeps him awake at night.

“I haven’t slept well in the last couple of days even though I have a nice comfy bed because I keep thinking about that. It’s kind of heartbreaking when you think about it,” says Ebrecht.

The Youth Center tries to keep people comfortable and safe by serving three meals a day. The shelter’s goal is to provide for people’s basic needs and prevent serious injuries that could result from the dangerous cold.

They give out things like clothing, hand warmers, gloves, and hats, but are currently out of a staple winter clothing item: winter coats.

The center’s program manager Elizabeth Patten says they need adult winter coats sizes medium and larger. This is because the shelter serves youths between the ages of 16 and 21.

The Iowa Homeless Youth Shelter is open 24 hours a day.

If you would like to make a donation, you can drop it off in person or by mail to 612 Locust Street in Des Moines.