Warming shelters and nonprofits in Colorado Springs provided shelter to hundreds during recent arctic weather

· Jan. 17, 2024, 4:16 pm
The Springs Rescue Mission provides temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness in the Colorado Springs area.The Springs Rescue Mission provides temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness in the Colorado Springs area. Courtesy of Springs Rescue Mission
The Springs Rescue Mission provides temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness in the Colorado Springs area. File photo.

Following a frigid weekend across the state, warming shelters and nonprofits in Southern Colorado stepped up to provide refuge to the region’s unhoused population. 

Temperatures up and down the Front Range dipped to record-breaking numbers, with Colorado Springs hitting -8 degrees on Sunday, breaking the previous record low for Jan. 14 set almost 30 years ago, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo. Wind chills across Southern Colorado and the Eastern Plains approached -30 degrees, marking life-threatening temperatures for anyone exposed to the cold.

Over the weekend and through Monday night, warming shelters and nonprofits in Colorado Springs such as Springs Rescue Mission and Hope COS opened their doors to anyone seeking shelter from the cold, with the two organizations housing upwards of 700 people through the coldest nights of the storm. 

Travis Williams, the chief development officer at Springs Rescue Mission, said that his organization was prepared for the arctic blast, thanks to support from the community and other local nonprofit groups. 

“What really is important is it takes the community,” said Williams. “When these temperatures hit, it’s all hands on deck, not only from Springs Rescue Mission, but we really do need the community to step up…it really does take everybody.”

Williams said that Springs Rescue Mission housed about 350 people each night during the recent cold spell, which is less than winter storms in previous years when the organization has sheltered as many as 475 people. Williams credits local nonprofit organizations such as Hope COS for providing additional shelter.

Melissa Oskin, executive director of Hope COS, said her nonprofit opened emergency housing in local churches and partner organizations for 10 days, beginning on Jan. 6. Hope COS housed as many as 403 people on the night of Jan. 15, and about 350 on the two nights prior. 

Oskin said Hope COS and its team of volunteers scrambled to open four buildings in Colorado Springs to help provide shelter to hundreds of people in need as the worst of the weather rolled in.

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