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Idaho Falls homeless shelters busy this winter

By Tyler Berg
Published On: Jan 06 2014 11:23:29 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 12:45:21 AM CST

Many people get in the giving spirit during the holidays, but homeless shelters never stop giving, and in Idaho Falls they're giving more than ever.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Many people get in the giving spirit during the holidays, but homeless shelters never stop giving, and in Idaho Falls they're giving more than ever.

David McKinney is the director of the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission, and Monday afternoon he was at its men's shelter, City of Refuge.

"We have 20 beds, and we probably had about 25 guys here last night, so we had five or six guys sleeping on the floor," said McKinney.

On that same floor, City of Refuge serves nearly 80 meals every night to anyone in need.

"In the evenings we're the only place in town that offers a home-cooked meal for people living on the street or having problems," said McKinney.

In 2013, through November, the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission served 27,569 meals. In 2012, through November, it served 21,028 meals. That's a 31 percent increase over the past year. More men are spending the night at City of Refuge, too.

"This winter we're seeing more demand than we've ever had before," said McKinney. "We're seeing probably about 20 percent more people staying with us than we have in the past, this time of the year."

Across town at the Haven Shelter, manager Anne Johnson's busy too.

"We get easily, two to four inquiries a day of people needing housing," said Johnson.

The Haven Shelter is an entity of the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership. With 24 living units, the Haven Shelter caters to families and single women.

"We provide food, clothing, everything that they need to be able to start up," said Johnson. "Everything from school supplies to work shoes if they need it."

Both shelters have a staff, who work with those in need to help them secure jobs.

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