Warming shelters fill up as brutal cold arrives

Wheeler Mission said anyone who needed shelter from the cold is welcome to spend the night. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – With temperatures dipping to near zero degrees homeless shelters are warning that it could be a matter of life and death for those living on the streets.

Wheeler Mission says 288 people stayed at their facility Saturday night. The downtown shelter for men can house up to 350 people. But they say they only have 200 beds, so some people had to sleep on the floor.

The Mission is the state’s largest emergency shelter.

In Indianapolis, there’s an estimated 1,600 people sleeping on the streets on any given night.

The Mission is working with outreach programs to get people off the streets.

But they say they can only do so much, and they’re asking for the public to lend a helping hand to those out on the streets.

“Do your best to try to tell them that we’re here, that we’re located here,” said William Bumphus, the Mission’s assistant director. “A lot of times guys are just diehard [and] stay out in the cold.”

The shelter is located at the corner of Market Street and East Street.

If they reach capacity at that location, they have an overflow shelter on Delaware Street.

The Salvation Army is opening its Eagle Creek Community Center as an overnight shelter. It plans to keep that shelter open through Monday.

In Muncie, City Hall and all seven fire stations will serve as warming centers. They’ll be open all night Sunday and Monday.

And in Columbus, the Salvation Army location at 2525 Illinois Street will serve as an overnight shelter Sunday. Cots and blankets will be available, as well as coffee and pastries. Kennels for animals will also be available.

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