Omaha, NE – Not everyone is lucky in life to have a warm home during the winter, freezing period in Nebraska. Unfortunately, there are people who can afford a home and are left homeless.
Due to the severe weather and low, freezing temperatures, multiple warming shelters for homeless are open across the city of Omaha in the last couple of days.
The Siena Francis House is among the few warming shelters who opened their doors for those in need of a warm place to stay during the recent cold weather. According to multiple reports, they opened their doors during the weekend and will stay opened until the outside temperatures remain low.
“We’ve been in below zero, and that is dangerous weather of course,” says Tim Sully, the development director at Siena Francis House.
Those in need of a warm place to stay are welcome to come at the warming shelter. Food and drinks will be provided for everyone during their stay. Sully says this is second year in a row for them to open their doors for those in need of warm and safe place to stay.
“We opened a couple days ago. We’ve had a couple people stop in to warm up and it’s great to be able to offer this service to people who need on those times they need, so yeah, we’re really grateful for this community for allowing all of our services,” said Tim Sully, Siena Francis House.
The warming shelter was opened few days ago. On Sunday, their doors remained opened from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and they saw increasing number of people using the benefits of the warming shelter.
“Overnight, so from the previous night in our emergency shelter, we had a little over 400 stay here, 404, and then last night the emergency shelter was up to 415, so there was certainly an increase in the emergency shelter numbers.”
Sully said they want the community to know they’re here for them, and that their staff, many of which have faced homelessness themselves, truly care about those who need extra support or help at any time of the year.
“It’s important for the people who utilize our services, it’s important for the Siena Francis house to be able to provide these services and it’s important to the very generous people in this community who are funding the Siena Francis House who are allowing us the privilege of providing our services, so we’re grateful for the opportunity and we know the people that use our services are grateful as well.”
Sully added that they expect even more people to come at the warming shelter since the outside temperatures still remain very low. The current capacity is 450 people, but Sully says they have a back-up plan in case the shelter reaches its maximum capacity.
“Let’s say we were to reach capacity, we would certainly work with the other shelter providers in town, which we do all of the time to ensure anybody who stops by Siena Francis house is going to be safely house, going to have something to eat and have appropriate clothes to wear.”
To make everything of this possible, Sully is asking the community to help them with donations in an effort to keep the shelter running as many days as possible during the winter. According to Sully, all types of donations including financial, food, drinks, winter clothing and other items are more than welcome during the winter period.
The Open Door Mission also informed they’re also supporting vulnerable community members during the bitter cold temperatures – handing out blankets, hats, gloves and other winter gear at both the men’s shelter and the Lydia House.
Candace Gregory, President and CEO of the Mission, says “no one is being turned away in extreme temperatures.”