Union Gospel Mission helps homeless upon low temps

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Life-threatening cold temperatures will soon be in our area and shelters want to make sure everyone who needs a place to stay has one.

It's starting to get extremely cold here in Sioux Falls. While many of us have a place to stay others aren't so lucky.

Our area is going in to a deep freeze and that means people living on the streets need a place to go.

"I’m very grateful because before I came here I didn't have anywhere to go I was back and forth between the streets and the Bishop Dudley so this place has really been a blessing to me," Union Gospel Mission Resident, Christina Motley said.

Christina said she's spent plenty of nights bundled up in the cold and it's not a good feeling.

"It feels very prickly. It feels like a thousand needles are like stabbing you all over. It doesn't feel good," Motley said.

Christina said on cold nights it’s unbearable and she didn't have anywhere to go. That’s when she turned to the Union Gospel Mission.

"If it's considered a cold day which is any day where the temperatures below 20 degrees or if it's higher and the wind chill makes it below 20 degrees then we'll take everybody in regardless," Union Gospel Mission of Sioux Falls CEO, Ron Gonzales said.

Andrea Pham is a doctor with Avera.

"Living in South Dakota I think it's important to remember when temperatures reach 32 or 0 and with our wind chill 15 miles per hour within certain minutes people are at increased risk," Avera Doctor, Andrea Pham said.

"Dressing in layers and staying inside of course if at all possible," Pham said.

Although the Union Gospel Mission gives people a place to stay it's not meant to be for a long period of time.

"The goal is to help them get back on their feet, go out find a job and be able to take care of themselves," Gonzales said.

The mission has some new plans to help find people out on the streets when it's cold outside.

"We want them to come here in the future our plan is to have a roving van that will actually go out and look for people on the cold nights and bring them to the mission," Gonzales said.

The number of homeless people in Sioux Falls who have to brave the frigid temperatures is growing, but it helps that they have places to go.

Those wanting to escape cold nights should check in by 10 p.m.