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St. Louis homeless shelters increase capacity ahead of subzero temperatures

Some of the beds and lockers available at Gateway 180, a homeless shelter that gives women and families 90 days to transition to more permanent housing.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
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Some of the beds and lockers available at Gateway 180, a homeless shelter that gives women and families 90 days to transition to more permanent housing, located at 1000 N. 19th St. in St. Louis.

Homeless shelters around St. Louis are taking extra steps to protect those without homes from subzero temperatures expected later this week.

According to the National Weather Service, the extreme cold is expected to be dangerous. The forecast calls for gusts of up to 50 mph that could result in wind chills ranging from minus 15 to minus 35 degrees Friday and Saturday morning.

In light of this cold snap, Gateway 180 shelter is making 20 overflow beds and cots available for the people it serves.

“We really encourage individuals who traditionally are maybe adverse to coming into shelter, and consider staying with us for a couple of days this weekend,” said Kathy Connors, Gateway 180’s executive director.

Mayor Tishaura Jones recently told St. Louis on the Air that the city will not do a warming bus this year. Despite this, Gateway 180 is donating an old school bus to an organization that hosts warming buses around the city to start transporting people to shelter beds this weekend.

Connors said Gateway 180 is an emergency shelter that offers rehousing services to women, children and families. It does not serve single or unaccompanied men.

Connors said the shelter is ready to receive an increased number of folks in need.

“Children do not need to be without shelter and a safe place to sleep at night. So we are pretty aggressive. Even if we're full, we will make room and work families into the shelter,” she said.

Britny Cordera is a poet and journalist based in St. Louis and is currently serving as a newsroom intern at St. Louis Public Radio.

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