Joplin shelters ready to take in extra people in need

JOPLIN, Mo.– Tommy Harris has been homeless in Joplin for about four years, and explains how difficult it is for those experiencing homelessness in the cold weather.

“You do what you have to do… every day,” Harris said.

Local shelters like Souls Harbor and Watered Gardens have become even more full as people seek shelter from the winter weather, but say they are still able to house people.

“We are seeing a few more people needing to come in and we usually do,” said Soul’s Harbor Executive Director Diana Gurley. 

Due to more people needing shelter, Gurley said their regular housing units are full, leaving them to open up their overflow shelter.

“We also have a special place open where we take in more than what is in our house. So I think some confusion comes in where they hear, ‘oh, the house is full’ and the house indeed is full. However, with the overflow, We’re a little more, we’re not so limited in how many we can take in.”

At Watered Gardens, it’s a similar story.

“But more times than not, our shelter gets full. Of course, people are definitely wanting to get out of the cold and in off the streets. but beyond that, because when the temperatures do drop below for us below 20 or when the wind chill gets below 20, we do open up a warming center and that’s really open to anyone, everyone to come when those temperatures are that low,” said Doug Gamble, Outreach Center Director at Watered Gardens. 

At Watered Gardens, Gable said the requirements they normally have change when the weather drops.

“The doors, our front doors here at the outreach center are just open and you can come into this front section and get warm.”

Both Soul’s Harbor and Watered Gardens say their overnight shelters will be open tonight, due to the cold temperatures meeting their requirements.