Cold weather has shelters packed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cold weather has shelters packed

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With the frigid weather setting in, shelters are ramping up services.

The Mission of Hope Shelter House in Cedar Rapids is already at capacity, but shelter officials say they're trying everything they can to make sure there's not anyone on the streets during these frigid temperatures.

Martin Dwyer is the executive director of Mission of Hope.  He says this time of year, it's brutally cold outside and when people find shelter, his staff rejoices because those in need are able stay warm overnight.

"If someone needs shelter throughout the night, we are prepared to answer that call," said Dwyer. "We'll go to sleeping bags on the floor if we have to, to keep someone out of the cold in the middle of the night."

Paul Elkins stays at the shelter for now, he helps stock food throughout the day at the facility's food pantry.

Although he's in need, helping others is still very important.

"This is actually the first time I've had to use the shelter," said Elkins. "I usually have a home, but coming to this has a lot of benefits to it. [Helping others is] very important, I like meeting different people and helping the best I can."

Mission of Hope has 14 beds and all are being occupied, but shelter officials say no-one will be turned away.

"Our hearts go out to all those that need a place to stay and stay warm," said Dwyer. "This time of year it's deadly outside. So we rejoice when people find us so they can star warm overnight."

Dwyer says he expects to see a few more people come in Saturday night, as the temperatures begin dropping.

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