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Community programs help those in need across the metro

Posted at 5:43 AM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 06:43:05-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Over the past few mornings, Nebraskans have faced some dangerously cold conditions and sub-zero wind chills that could create unsafe conditions for people without shelter.

Tim Sully with Siena Francis House is clear: there's plenty of room for those who need it.

"So Siena Francis House has an emergency shelter which we're in right now and has over 450 beds, and at no point during this cold spell have we been over capacity and really not even near capacity," Sully said.

Sully says he collaborates often with other shelters.

"We've been able to accommodate anybody who comes to our shelter, who is requesting overnight emergency shelter services, food and clothing, those kinds of things. If we were to ever hit capacity, then we would certainly work with other shelters in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area to accommodate anyone who needs a safe, warm place to stay," Sully said.

A safe, warm place to land is something the Salvation Army tries to offer with its Winter Night Watch Program taking to the streets of Omaha.

"We take out our canteens, our food trucks, we load them up with food, we load them up with winter weather gear, coats, gloves, hats, scarves and the like and we take them out on pre-planned routes throughout Omaha and make stops and hand out warm meals and clothes to anyone in need," Salvation Army's Todd Andrews said.

He's seen a desperate, increased need.

"We're just about 4-5 weeks into the season, cause it starts right after Thanksgiving and goes until the first part of March, and have seen more people coming to get our services at Night Watch than we usually do, so for example, we're low on men's coats early on this season," Andrews said.

As Nebraskans brace to face the rest of winter, there's a plea, a call to action for help.

"We still have the coldest weeks ahead in January and February in Nebraska. They almost invariably are. We expect that level of need to remain just as high or perhaps even steepen in the weeks to come," Andrews said.

Please call 402-680-1859 if you can donate new or gently used coats, hats, gloves or scarves. To donate to Siena Francis, click here.

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