DIGGING DEEPER: Warming Shelter opens its doors to Siouxland’s homeless

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SIOUX CITY(KTIV) – The Warming Shelter in Sioux City is just one of the many organizations throughout Siouxland that extends a helping hand to the homeless community.

The warming shelter opens its doors to anyone in need of a warm place to sleep, with minimal rules all in an effort to save lives.

“We take the individuals that that essentially don’t fit into any of the existing shelters in the community,” says Joe Twidwell, Board President if the Warming Shelter.

Joe Twidwell, Board President of the Warming Shelter,  says the Warming Shelter has a goal to make sure no one ever freezes to death in the cold.

Twidwell says there was a big need for a place like the warming shelter before they opened nearly four seasons ago.

“Up until when we opened it was normal, sadly normal in Siouxland that two, three or four of those people would die every Winter due to exposure. They just wouldn’t have a place to go and, they’d be found in an alley or under a bridge somewhere,” says Twidwell.

There are few rules for those going into the warming shelter but, Twidwell says the rules they do have are for safety reasons.

“We don’t allow people to drink inside the shelter or have drugs inside the shelter. We do allow people to come in who are intoxicated and we’ll shelter them here but, again for safety reasons, we don’t allow that or fighting or any kind of weapons,” says Twidwell.

Twidwell says safety is a priority.

“At any one time in this shelter or the day shelter that we operate, we have two people on duty at any given time. They are going to be a person that we have hired that is maybe a person with a sociology or a psychology degree, human services, something of that nature and then we have an officer from night patrol that is here also,” says Twidwell.

The Warming Shelter has room for 116 people to stay the night.

They are undergoing some construction ahead of its opening date for the season.

The sleeping areas, as well as the bathrooms, are being redone.

They plan to open for the season in November.

Twidwell says they hope to expand services to the homeless community in Sioux City.

One day, Twidwell says the organization hopes to open the day shelter next to the warming shelter.

That’s so folks will be able to stay in the same area for access to shelter.

He says he hopes to eventually see the soup kitchen in the same area, as well.

He says the location is perfect with mental health services and health care services for the homeless nearby.

Ashly Richardson

Ashly Richardson

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