FM Area Homeless Shelters Seeing Highest Numbers Ever - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

FM Area Homeless Shelters Seeing Highest Numbers Ever

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As you climb into your warm bed tonight, consider this, more people than ever in the Valley are sleeping in the freezing temperatures on the streets. It's a harsh reality that our region is facing, and homeless shelters are struggling to keep up, turning people away every night.

David Stoffel of Fargo says, "When you can't get into a place, it's too late to run someplace else.

It's the little things... Like a warm jacket, or even a place to sleep that many of us take for granted. But for David Stoffel and so many others, that's a challenge they face everyday.

Stoffel says, "I was pretty stressed this morning just wondering where I was going to go tonight."

New Life Center Assistant Director, Rob Swiers, "This year has been the highest number of folks at our shelter ever."

Homeless shelters up and down the valley are at capacity and turning people away. New Life Center in North Fargo has turned away 490 people since last spring and already 55 just this month.

Swiers says, "It is very challenged to do that and say, I'm sorry, we don't have any room for you."

And it's cold nights like tonight where being locked out, can be dangerous.

Swiers says, "It's not an easy fix."

Shelters have been at capacity all year. Swiers says people come to North Dakota, hoping for the best, but not able to find jobs and not prepared for the elements.

"We're converting one of our rooms into additional shelter," says Swiers.

It's the first time ever they've expanded, But putting in more beds, puts a strain on the shelter and the people in it. But, it can mean one less night in the cold.

"Without the places like this, I wouldn't make it," says Stoffel.

The staff at New Life Center says they have never seen a problem this bad in Fargo, and, sadly, they don't see it getting better any time soon. All they say they can do is try to give people the help they need to overcome personal issues, find housing and jobs, and then prepare themselves to keep turning people away.

Last year, area churches opened up their doors to give the homeless a place to sleep through the winter. A plan is in place to do so again this year.

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