Sioux Falls homeless battle sub-zero temperatures - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Sioux Falls homeless battle sub-zero temperatures

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Monday's below zero temperatures made life very difficult for anyone who had to go outside, but imagine dealing with this arctic blast without a warm place to call home.

Around 80 people in Sioux Falls depend on theSalvation Army's warming center to battle the elements each night this winter.But when the warming center closes at seven each morning, they have to find another place to stay warm during the day.

On Monday, that meant navigating Sioux Falls on foot through wind chills as low as 40 below zero. For 23-year-old BaaronDavis, it's just the beginning of a long winter ahead.  

He begins each morning of the winter with a quarter mile walk from the Salvation Army's warming center to the Banquet for breakfast, but Davis shared he usually walks about a mile every day, no matter how cold it gets outside. On a day like Monday, he's prepared with many layers.

"I feel OK; I have two coats on and three sweatshirts, and then I have three pairs of pants, three pairs of socks, so I'm pretty warm. This is a pillowcase, I tie it around my face to keep me warm, covers my nose and my ears and my mouth so I don't get sick,"said Davis.

It's a trick he's had to learn after two winters on the streets of Sioux Falls.

"I'm 23 and I got out of the [Marine] Corp in 2011 and I moved back to Sioux Falls because my family was here...I had a job at Valentino's, but then I messed up my job at Valentino's and then I ended up on the streets and I've just been here ever since," saidDavis.

But the Veteran who served a tour in Afghanistan says Sioux Falls has a great support system.

"You've got the warming center and then besides that if you are able, you can go to the mission or you can go to the St. Francis house," said Davis.

Davis said after spending the night at the warming center, he usually heads to the Banquet for breakfast, then to the Good Shepherd and then down to the public library for most the afternoon. He also spends some time and gets a lot of help at theVeterans of America in Sioux Falls.

"Monday through Saturday you always have a place to go...on a day like Sunday, that's something different," said Davis.

Most of the public services are closed until about 1:00p.m. on Sundays, which meansDavis and many other homeless people in Sioux Falls are outside for nearly five hours Sunday mornings.

"Some people go to the laundry mat, some people go to the gas station, I've seen like fast food place, a lot of people go to church," said Davis.

"If I didn't have this Don't know what else I would do; some people go to jail just to have a place Togo," said GerogeEichinger of the Salvation Army's warming center.

Those who do tough it out in the elements for a few hours are generally well prepared with clothing they've received from several of the charity location across Sioux Falls. 

"A lady came from a church tonight and gave me six bags full of coats and hats and gloves and socks and long johns. Long johns were really important they were a big hit; ten minutes after she left everything was already gone," said Darlos Cook, theSalvation Army's Warming Shelter Coordinator.

But even with the extra layers, the extreme cold still takes a toll.

"I wear two jackets, a race jacket that's got armor in it, then I have a big thermal one...plus four pairs of pants and I still stay cold," said 20-year-old JohnThompson.

Despite dealing with the cold every day of the winter, Davis and many of his friends stay positive and thankful for all of the helpful, friendly people and places they find in Sioux Falls.

"Sioux Falls doesn't let you starve…they're really nice people...so Sioux Falls really isn't that bad,"said Davis.

The Salvation Army's warming center and other centers serving the homeless this winter are always looking for more blankets, socks, hats, gloves, coats and any other cold weather gear donations.

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