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Homeless in Joplin struggle to find warmth due to many closed fa - KOAM TV 7

Homeless in Joplin struggle to find warmth due to many closed facilities

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Many facilities were closed today due to President's Day, leaving some homeless people in Joplin struggling to find a warm place to take shelter from the inclement weather.

The closings, for many, made what is already a hard day, weather-wise, even more difficult.

"I had a hard time sleeping last night because I did not know what I was going to do," said Frankie Cotten, homeless.

Cotten and many others were surprised to find a sign stating, "closed due to weather", at Watered Gardens when seeking shelter there.

Others were turned away.

"When we got there to eat breakfast this morning, they said have a good day and try to stay warm, but we're not accepting you guys," said Scott Tanner, homeless.

Salvation Army was also closed, but opened doors to the lobby area this morning when several people gathered outside.

Red Cross stations and city facilities also closed.

"The library is closed," said Amber Ruemmele, Souls Harbor resident. "We were trying to stay warm."

"Typically, when you look at multiple days of single digit temperatures, that is usually when you start seeing community warming shelters being opened," said Lynn Onstot, public information officer for the City of Joplin. "Daytime warming shelters are typically discussed on an 'as need' basis."

Souls Harbor was one of the only places open today.

"I don't remember a federal holiday combined with inclement weather that led to the shutting down of facilities like this one has," said Georgia Jones, executive director of Souls Harbor.

And many of the homeless say they are hopeful more places might be open the next time that combination occurs.

"They need to be open on days like this," Cotten said.

Two locations in Joplin that do have warming centers open tonight include Watered Gardens, at 531 Kentucky Avenue, which opened its doors at 5:30 p.m., and Souls Harbor, at 915 South Main Street.
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