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Colorado Springs homeless shelter ready for rush as temperatures dip below freezing

October 26, 2017 Updated: October 27, 2017 at 6:16 am
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Springs Rescue Mission (Gazette file photo)

Colorado Springs homeless shelter operators prepared for a rush of people seeking shelter Thursday on what was expected to be the coldest night so far this season.

The day's high - 63 degrees - was recorded at 4:19 a.m., the National Weather Service in Pueblo reported. Temperatures fell rapidly as the day went on. A low of 21 degrees and a 30 percent chance of snow was expected Thursday night.

Springs Rescue Mission's leader feared having to turn people away due to capacity issues - if not this storm, then the next.

"We're not big enough yet, right now, to handle all the volume of homeless in our community," said Larry Yonker, the nonprofit's president and chief executive.

The nonprofit can accommodate 300 people a night - making it the city's largest provider of homeless shelter beds. Sobriety is not required for admission and pets are allowed.

On Wednesday evening, nearly 270 men and women stayed at the campus off Las Vegas Street west of Tejon Street.

A half-mile to the north, beds were open and available at the Salvation Army's shelter, 709 S. Sierra Madre St.

The shelter, which requires guests to be sober, had four beds open for women, 22 for men and 19 for families - vacancy rates that have been routine the last several months.

"We're here, we're available and we'll take you in," said Capt. David Kauffman, who heads the organization's El Paso County chapter.

Friday will be even chiller, with an expected high of 42 degrees, the weather service reported. But skies are expected to be sunny Friday, with the next chance for rain or snow on Monday.

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