When the temperatures dip below zero, Helena’s emergency homeless shelter must work harder to help an influx of people and make ends meet.
Early snow storms and record cold mean God’s Love will likely need more community assistance this year.
Living on the streets is hard enough, but when it’s freezing outside, that life can be deadly.
Kelly Sue Kelly was recently homeless, but has been living at God’s Love for about a week.
“I was out on the street with the wind and the rain,” she told MTN News. “It’s hard… it’s terrifying.”
At God’s Love, workers are already feeling the pinch, and it’s not yet winter.
“It really, honestly just uses up everything we have,” said Rachel Saunders, the office manager. “The summer for a while there wasn’t that hot, so our resources were still getting used up. And then this winter it’s started so early.”
She estimates Tuesday, 40 to 45 people will sleep at their shelter. Last winter, they consistently housed about 30 people in their overflow areas. She says they’re bracing for a winter like last year’s, when they saw a major influx of people in need all season long.
“Last winter we had our numbers double for the majority and then sometimes triple, in the amount of people we helped,” she said.
Donations of all kinds, from hats and gloves to cleaning supplies, will keep people safe and healthy this season. They also need items like toilet paper and paper towels.
Those donations also provide hope for people like Kelly.
“I didn’t know there was a future for me, it’s scary,” she said. “I’m very grateful for God’s Love.”
You can drop off donations at God’s Love. Their address is 533 North Last Chance Gulch. You can also call their office at 422-7000.