Area charities providing resources for the homeless in extreme temperatures

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JOPLIN, Mo. — With temperatures dropping into the teens overnight — organizations are making sure the homeless are safe.

The coronavirus pandemic is not stopping nonprofits and ministries from lending a helping hand. Soul’s Harbor, Salvation Army, and Watered Garden’s Ministries are each offering different kinds of help.

Daniel Gurley, Souls Harbor, said, “You want to get as many people off the streets as possible. I know we all make bad choices sometimes, but you shouldn’t have to die for it.”

Souls Harbor is offering overflow sleeping areas to the homeless once it drops below 32 degrees at 817 Main Starting at 7 p.m. They say its important to get the homeless population off the streets — because some will resort to dangerous ways to stay warm.

“Some of the folks out there think if you drink alcohol you’ll stay warmer. The problem with that it gets dangerous because that actually lowers your body temperature.”

The Salvation Army in Joplin is offering a warming center during business hours inside their main building at 320 Main Street.

Lieutenant Marty Norris, Salvation Army, said, “There’s a lot of people that are homeless and stuck out in the cold and this gives them a chance to get out of the bitter cold and warm up for a little bit.”

Meanwhile Watered Garden’s Ministries keeps their warming center open 24/7. They say its important to stay open around the clock to get the homeless out of the cold.

James Whitford, Watered Gardens Ministries, said, “People struggling with mental health or addiction issues may not even be dressed properly to make sure their extremities are staying at the temperature that they should be. We want to make sure to preserve life. Every single life has value.”

All three shelters are enforcing coronavirus precautions including social distancing and offering hand sanitizer and masks. They all say the most important thing is to keep everyone safe.

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