Sioux Falls emergency shelter over capacity as sub-zero temperatures move into region

By  | 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Due of the cold weather, the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House has seen an increase in people needing help.
The Sioux Falls facility is an emergency shelter that can house people overnight and provide a break from the harsh temperatures during the day.

The shelter has been over capacity for three nights in a row and staff members don't expect that to change this weekend.
Since the shelter doesn't turn anyone away hey have a plan in place to provide shelter to everyone who is looking for it.
Winter in South Dakota means freezing temperatures.
And when the temperatures go down, the number of people using the shelter goes up.

“We've been running over capacity about 10% for at least the last three nights, but on and off sporadically the last two weeks,” Development Coordinator Amanda Stidd said.
“Really brings the people. We’re seeing a lot more people even just the last couple days where it's been colder, people we've never seen before,” Daytime Director Maria Krell said.
That means no matter what time of day it is the shelter is busy.
From people doing laundry to having lunch...

“Drinking more coffee just trying to get out of that cold bitterness,” Krell said.

“We were so busy one day last week that it was standing room only in the day room,” Stidd said.

..To even finding a safe place to sleep.

“When you're dealing with over a hundred people in a plus seven families, you know it is a lot of people in one small space,” Stidd said.
That means the staff bring out extra supplies…

“We have some cots that we can put in to the overnight rooms that overflow. We have mats we can put on the floor,” Stidd said.

…And increasing the number of people on the clock.

“We beef up on our staffing, especially for the evening shift, to make sure we have enough people to have somebody in each room, somebody at the front, and somebody roaming around as kind of an assist if they need to,” Stidd said.

Staff says it’s all in a day’s work and they encourage more people to walk through the doors.

“It's okay to ask for help, and come in, and have that place to warm up,” Krell said.

In the winter time the shelter is working to save people from exposure.

“Don't want anybody to freeze to death. We don't want anybody to be stuck outside with no place to go attempting to stay warm. We don't want anybody attempting to stay in their car. It's just not a great idea,” Stidd said.

And no matter what, there is always space for one more.

Staff at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House works months in advance to prepare for winter weather so they're ready when temperatures drop.