Salvation Army prepares for coldest nights with warming centers - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Salvation Army prepares for coldest nights with warming centers for homeless

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Now that we're starting to see winter take hold here in Rochester, it's important to remember those who struggle the most this time of year.

The Salvation Army is changing things up this year with its warming shelter for the city's homeless population.

By their best estimates, there are around 70 homeless people in Rochester with as many as 400 people couch surfing.

The Salvation Army had high hopes for this year, but had to make due with a modest, but still important, change.

Historically the warming shelter only opened when the wind chill was -25o F, now they're raising the threshold to 0o Fahrenheit, effectively raising their nights open from 4 to 25.

The original hope was to have the warming shelter open every night until March, like it is in other communities.

However, it did move locations to accommodate more people per night, as many as 40.

And even though it might not seem like much, it means the world to the people braving the elements every day.

"We'll be providing food and donating food, community members making food, so we'll be able to serve people and then also have cots set up for them to sleep," Alex, Hurlebaus, a case worker with the Salvation Army, said. "That's kinda all anybody who's staying here wants. all the guests want is just a warm meal, a warm place to sleep and get away from the elements for a night."

The new location is the Adult Day Program building, but they hope that next year they'll have a space that will allow them to be open every night and accommodate many more people.

If you wish to volunteer or help out in any way, there will be a couple information sessions next Monday.

They're looking for a volunteer base of 200 or more.

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