Shelters prepare for crowds as temperature drops

A warm roof over our head is something many of us may take for granted, but as the mercury dips below freezing the need for help in our area goes sky high.

It sits just down the street from Southern Illinois University, but Executive Director Mike Heath says the Good Samaritan House isn’t there for the students, it’s for the homeless. On the average night, Good Samaritan can house up to 30 people, but when the temperature drops that’s not enough.

“We’re set up as a warming area, and they are allowed to come in and warm up, but as far as spending the night if it gets absolutely horrible we’ll do anything we can,” said Mike Heath. “Normally we’re full, and we don’t have any room.”

This time of the year with the temperatures dropping the Good Samaritan House generally keeps a rack full of coats, but often the demand is greater than their supply.

“We have folks come in here in January in t-shirts, or no tennis shoes, or no hat or gloves,” said Heath. “They’re just freezing.”

Despite the high demand they try to give everyone a warm place to stay, and a good meal, but unfortunately the supply isn’t always there.

“There’s a lot of folks that just need help, and that’s not going down,” said Heath. “The funding is what’s going down.”

Donations and volunteers are always needed at Good Samaritan House. To find out how you can get involved click here.

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