Cold weather brings large numbers to local shelter

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - When there are night as cold as Thursday night, it's hard to imagine that there was people out there with out a roof over there head. Well, it happens right here in Region 8. But the Mission Outreach in Paragould helps to provide a warm place to those in need.

Richard Guerrieri is just one of thousands hit by the economy. "We were suppose to be getting all this work and that never happened," said Guerrieri.

He's been staying at the mission for about five months. "If this place wasn't here, I would probably be dead right now," said Guerrieri. Lately, the living quarters have been tight. "It's really crowded. It's pretty much almost max," he said.

At the start of 2012, Mission Outreach Director of Development, Jeremy Biggs says the mission has already seen a drastic increase, housing 44 residents within the first 12 days of January. That's compared to 42 residents in the entire month of January in 2011.

"When the weather gets cold outside, people get tired of sleeping in their cars. So they come here to Mission Outreach for a warm for a warm bed and a hot meal," said Biggs.

He says December, January, and February are often when the shelter tends to see their peak number of residents. Right now, there are two beds still available, but with Thursday night predicted to be one of the coolest nights of the year, they could fill up.

"It's a lot easier to find a place to sleep when it's warm out. There's really no reason to sleep on the streets. A lot of people chose to do that. We had to go get two brothers the other night who were sleep out in the woods in a tent not too long ago," said Guerrieri.

But Guerrieri says the mission have done more that just put a roof over his head. "You got a place that you can stay. You can organize a phone number and get a job. You'd be amazed, a lot of people don't have a social security card or have a license and stuff. They can help you get that," he said.

We are happy to report Guerrieri has obtained a full time job, and hopes to soon move out of the shelter. Of course, the mission is always in need of towels, food, and the basic necessities. For more information, on how you can help just go to

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.