Overflow shelter helps keep dozens out of the cold - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Overflow shelter helps keep dozens out of the cold

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Nearly 40 people are escaping the cold every night in Cedar Rapids thanks to an overflow homeless shelter. 

This is the first year an overflow shelter has been open in Cedar Rapids 7 days a week regardless of temperature during the winter. 

It opened last month and will stay open until March 15th. 

"We have you know the warm space, we have cots, blankets, pillows," says Alicia Faust, Support Services Manager at Willis Dady Homeless Services. 

Belongings can be seen lining the cots waiting for people who plan to return. 

Faust says they have seen nearly 200 different people since opening. 

"187 un-duplicated individuals and of those the around 37 has been the consistent number each night and then the other part of that number they've stayed you know one or two nights until they got into alternative housing or into a typical shelter," she told us. 

The shelter is located at 505 33rd Ave. SW in an office building up for lease.

The space was donated anonymously to provide warmth all winter long. 

"It was exactly what we needed at the exact time," says Faust. 

The shelter simply has to pay the utility bills. 

Offering an overflow space in the winter helps many who would likely be on the streets. 

 "Individuals that for some reason are ineligible for the other shelters or maybe a couple with no children that they don't want to split up and go to different shelters they'd like to stay together," Faust tells us. 

Since word spread of the overflow space the community has shown their support by providing blankets, pillows and paper products. 

"Our whole storage area is just filled and I had seven voice-mails this morning for more donations to be dropped off," Faust says. 

The shelter partnered with Neighborhood Transportation Service through Horizons to help get people to the shelter. 

Bus tickets are also given out in the mornings to help get people to where they need to go for the day. 

The shelter is made possible because of several organizations working together including homeless services, faith-based organizations, healthcare providers and law enforcement. 

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