Extreme cold strains overcrowded shelters

10:24 PM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Extreme cold is placing increased pressure on already overcrowded shelters.

People Serving People, a downtown Minneapolis shelter serving families with children, is housing about 130 families Monday night. That's well above their capacity of 90.

"We're seeing a record number of people needing our services," says CEO Daniel Gumnit.

They've been overcrowded since last summer when federal stimulus money to help relocate homeless families ran out.

"That money has since dried up," says Gumnit. "When you combine that with a tight market for housing, low vacancy rates and difficulty finding jobs, it makes it a very bad situation for families."

On cold nights like this, the situation becomes even more dire.

So many people are looking for a warm place to sleep. Gumnit says he's in constant contact with the county which is housing overflow at the Drake hotel downtown.

"When it's this cold, sleeping in cars is not an option," says Gumnit.

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