St. Louis, MO – St. Louis regional homeless shelters are expanding capacity in advance of an arctic cold snap expected to drop below zero with the wind chill over the next several days.
Bill Siedhoff is the Director of Human Services for the city. He says most shelter beds were already taken before the weather but they have an overflow capacity of around 20 beds.
"You know the beds are usually full, emergency shelters are usually at capacity or near capacity most of the time," says Siedhoff. "We try to provide sufficient number of beds to accommodate everyone who needs the help."
Siedhoff says they expected to fill over one thousand beds total.
Carolyn Clay manages the women and children's shelter for the New Life Evangelistic Center in downtown St. Louis.
"We had one family with three children," says Clay. "They said they called the homeless hotline and couldn't get in. Then we had another family with two children toddlers. Then we had another lady come in with a baby."
Another downtown shelter, Gateway Homeless Services, has also expanded their capacity by 25 beds.
The total number of people seeking short-term shelter in the city is expected to top 1000.
People looking for relief from the cold can also access 44 warming centers around the city. The number to call for help is 211.