Souls Harbor utilizes chapel as warming station for the homeless

The warming station is open every day from 7 P.M. to 6 A.M.
Souls Harbor Chapel

JOPLIN, Mo. – As temperatures start to drop and colder months creep upon us, places like Souls Harbor are doing what they can to keep the homeless population warm.

“You can’t leave them out in the cold regardless, you cannot leave them out in the cold, so my next thought was okay if we don’t want them in the housing unit then where can we put them?” said Souls Harbor Executive Director, Dianna Gurley.

Normally Souls Harbors housing area is opened up as a warming station, able to fit more than 100 people in the dining area.

“This year, that’s not possible with this covid thing going on, we had to find a separate place to put them.”

Souls Harbor already endured a coronavirus outbreak with their residents before so having a space where everyone in need of warmth could come but still be safe is very important.

“We have a chapel and pantry that is a block down from the housing unit, so we have opened up the chapel where they can stay overnight when it gets that cold.”

They are able to space people out within the pews of the chapel and the pantry area with a volunteer overlooking the station.

“Even in regular times we’d have to sanitize behind them and do laundry every night, so it’s a lot of extra expense and a lot of extra work. And in this particular case though, it’s double because now we have to find staff come down here and monitor the situation when we could have it all in one”

Dianna says they haven’t had many people utilize the spot yet but are happy to have a plan in place and a place to provide others with warmth.

“It’s very important to have warming stations because once it gets to freezing out there you’re going to see people that get more sick than they ever have been, there’s frostbite situation and you’re going to have people who die if left out there in the cold to freeze.”

The warming station is open every day from 7 P.M. to 6 A.M.