Help for the Homeless During Colder Weather

RENO, Nev. -- Reno's homeless shelters are already at capacity, and with the recent winter weather, more people need help getting out of the cold.

Freezing temperatures are putting a strain on the resources at the homeless shelters on Record Street.

"The shelters are already running full all year long so a lot of folks who would normally be outside during the summer need somewhere warm to be," Sandy Isham of Volunteers of America told us. "And we're seeing this year that there are more people on the street than usual."

Volunteers of America has opened day areas in the shelter to accommodate the extra crowds at night while they work to get their offsite winter overflow space up and running.

"We've run into a shortage of funds to provide overflow this year," Isham says. "So there's a $35,000 gap to provide winter accommodations."

They're working with a number of community organizations to raise money for staffing, transportation and supplies at that facility. Plus, they are gearing up for the holiday season. Isham says any kind of donation helps.

"There are many ways to help get involved and make a difference. Give us a call and we'll work with you or your group."

West of downtown Reno, another local nonprofit is helping more than 300 families with their annual Soap for Hope program. Courtney Bell, founder of the People First Foundation, says the program is important.

"We help out single moms, low income youth with a months worth of detergent, bleach and dryer sheets."

More than a dozen organizations and volunteers come together to make the Soap for Hope event bigger and better every year.

"What inspired me was the fact I was homeless for five years," says Bell. "But more important, I met a man named Lester when I lived in a battered women's shelter; he shared with me what life is all about and that's what this organization is all about: showing kids there's hope outside this low income and destitute situation in their life."


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