© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
YWCA Our House shelter program co-ordinator Rose Bird is seen in front of the shelter on 15th Street with their last blanket to give away.
When the less fortunate come into the YWCA Our House shelter’s front door shivering, there’s little that staff can do.
“They’ve been coming in asking for jackets, but we just have thin fall jackets – that’s not enough,” shelter program co-ordinator Rose Bird said.
“Their hands are just cold, so they need gloves and good winter socks and whatever.”
Although they have a small cache of season-appropriate women’s jackets, there are only a handful of men’s jackets in basement storage, ready to be given away.
On Friday, the facility was down to its last blanket.
With weather dipping below freezing and the weather forecast predicting the season’s first snowfall this weekend, it’s critical that the facility restocks its supply of blankets and winter-appropriate clothing, which is given away to those in need.
“We don’t want to lose any more life,” Bird said. “We’ve lost quite a few people already, because of the cold.”
The YWCA does what it can to help people, she said, noting that warm clothing is readily handed out to whoever needs it.
They’ve been coming in asking for jackets, but we just have thin fall jackets – that’s not enough. Rose Bird
“A lot of them walk around at night because they’ve got no place to go -- they’re cold so they’ll walk around, and then they’ll stop here in the morning for coffee to warm up,” she said.
The YWCA’s shelters are almost consistently full. Although alternate accommodations are always available, sometimes it can come down to a prison cell.
Some homeless, for whatever reason, choose to spend the night outside -- something made less dangerous with warm clothing, Bird said.
With people already beginning to ask for winter clothing and blankets, Bird said, “We’ll be very thankful if donations could come in, because it’s getting cold.”
Donations can be dropped off at the YWCA Our House shelter, at 94 15th St. E. anytime, since the facility is open 24/7.