Local shelters expanding for winter crisis

Homeless shelters in Acadiana are making plans to open facilities to those most in need of protection.

“Both the men’s shelter and the women’s shelter, we open above capacity so that we can make sure to accommodate anyone who needs a warm bed and safe place to sleep,” said Sarah Clement, Catholic Services of Acadiana Director.

St. Joseph’s Shelter for men and New Life Center for women and children are open as hypothermia shelters Wednesday night. On average St. Joseph’s is home to 52 men a night, but on nights such as this one they can expect 20 or more than usual. No one will be turned away from staying the night.

“On nights like this we’re on a winter crisis plan. We do not require id’s,” said Clement.

Last winter, Catholic Services of Acadiana provided shelter to over 300 men and women during freezing temperatures. The shelter’s goal is to get as many people off of the streets during the cold snap.

“We will be providing cots for the individuals. We will also be providing a meal by 5:00 p.m. then again we’ll serve them breakfast the next morning,” said Clement.

Clement said the feedback they receive from people is always positive.

“People are always appreciative of a warm place to sleep otherwise, they would be out in the cold especially tonight when it’s going to be bitter, harsh, windy and 22 degrees,” said Clement.

Many people who stay at the shelter are without any belongings and are always in need of any donations from the community.

“Things like warm blankets, hats, scarves are always things that we can use especially during the winter months,” said Clement.

New Life Center asks that any women with or without children seeking shelter arrive no later than 7 PM.

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