Going outside right now may be uncomfortable for those of you with homes, but the cold is an emergency situation for people who do not. The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House is overcapacity right now, with our dip into freezing temperatures.
A nearby store on 10th and Cliff is just a few blocks away from the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House. Marianne Hieb says it felt like miles when she ran errands Monday morning.
“I was cold by the time I got up there. It wasn’t too bad walking up, but walking back with the wind blowing in my face, it was cold,” Hieb said.
Right now, the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House is Hieb’s only home.
“I’ve never really had to stay outside, but hey, I’m a farm girl. So, when you have cattle or whatnot, you know what cold is like,” Hieb said.
Hieb isn’t alone. Executive Director Madeline Shields says 11 new people who have never stayed here just checked in. She says that’s a sign winter is near.
“It is busy. You can hear the door opening and closing. People will make their way here all day long,” Shields said.
The shelter is open 22 hours per day, seven days per week. It has 80 beds for men, 20 for women, and seven family rooms. However, in emergency situations, like when the temps are freezing outside, staff doesn’t turn people away.
“We make the room. Whether we have to put mats in the aisles on the floors in the day rooms. We will make sure people have a warm safe place,” Shields said.
Every winter seems longer when you’re on the streets. That’s why Hieb says she’s grateful she has a place to go to.
“It’s a nice warm friendly place for our community to get together,” Hieb said.