The Egan Warming Center had to scramble Thursday to find another site. With temperatures below freezing the shelter was overwhelmed, but the vacant Parker Elementary opened its doors.
Only twice over the past five years has the Egan Center needed to move so quickly to find another place for the homeless people seeking refuge from the cold. Thursday night, one of their usual shelters was unavailable. Program Director Doug Bales says the elementary school was found through a group effort.
“This community when they know there’s a need and they see it’s being managed effectively, this community steps up. Every time we ask, we’re getting nodding heads and consent and constructive support. It’s a phenomenon.”
If previous years are any indicator, the needy population will double as the days grow colder. Bales says the city and county are working hard to help them find more shelters. He says the Armory and Wheeler Pavilion are options in case of emergency. Thursday night more than 300 people sought shelter. The Egan Warming Center expects numbers to exceed 500 as winter sets in.