Homeless shelter sees influx of people during cold months

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The winter months are typically the most difficult for the homeless which is why Mission Outreach of Northeast Arkansas in Paragould sees an increase in residents during the end of the year.

"We have had various phone calls all day from Craighead and surrounding counties of people needing shelter," said Cheri Peters, a case manager.

Peters said it is an emotional time of the year because the need is so big.

"I come to work every day, and I am humbled because I know I can go home at the end of the day," said Peters. "These people cannot do that."

Currently, the shelter holds 40 residents with 16 children, ranging in age from 4 months to 16 years.

Peters said at the rate they are going, she expects to be at full capacity, which is 60 people, within the next few days.

"Sometimes we can hold a bed for someone needing help, but when we can't we at least can direct them to a shelter that can take care of them," said Peters.

Providing shelter is not the only thing the Mission Outreach does for the community this time of year.

"During these months, we'll have people needing utility assistance," said Peters. "Some people, who have received a shutoff notice, come here and we give them a voucher and send them to area churches that will also provide a voucher so that they can keep their utilities on."

Peters also said that they serve over 100 citizens for dinner on any given night.

"It is a very stressful emotional time at the mission because there is so many in need," said Peters.

Earlier this year, the shelter received a grant that allowed them to upgrade their heating system so their current residents can stay warm in their dorms.

Peters said with the amount of donations of blankets and coats they have received from the community, they are able to serve walk-ins who do not live at the shelter.

"I am blessed to be a part of such a giving community because, without that, we couldn't do what we do," said Peters. "The people who work here have really big hearts."

Peters encourages anyone needing help during the upcoming months to call the mission at 870-236-8080.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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