Homeless Seek Shelter From Cold - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Homeless Seek Shelter From Cold

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Addie Olson



Des Moines Homeless Shelter resident Herb Gish knows what it's like to be cold.

"It just, it was too cold. I thought i was going to die that night," Gish said of the night he first came to the shelter.

The military veteran was laid off from his job at a Hy–Vee distribution center. Two years ago Herb found himself homeless and standing in sub–zero temperatures near the west mix–master.

"I was freezing," he said. "I was cold, cold that night. I called the cops and they came out and picked me up."

Herb turned to the Central Iowa Shelter and Services.

He's one of about 300 homeless people in Des Moines who stay there each night.

"Our goal especially this time of year with the cold weather is to allow everybody to come in and at least be safe for the night," said Tony Timm of the Central Iowa Shelter and Services.

Hundreds of people line up for the warm meals the shelter serves each day. After weeks of frigid wind chills they seek out any warmth they can find.

"Frostbite becomes a real issue and everything we do is centered around keeping people safe and providing opportunity," Timm said.

Herb saw that opportunity when he moved from the freezing streets into one of the shelter's apartments.

"If today's a crappy day, tomorrow's going to be a better day. It always does get better. If you're willing to put your best foot forward it's going to get better," Gish said.

Gish now saves half of the money he makes in hopes of moving out of the shelter and finding a home of his own.

"You either have the mind set, 'I'm here for the free whatever I can get,' or 'I'm here to better myself and get back on my feet.' I'd rather do than be given everything," Herb said.

After the holidays the shelter said donations of things like hats, gloves, and coats plummet.

You can donate by dropping stuff off at the shelter at 1420 Mulberry Street in Des Moines or by visiting https://centraliowashelter.org/

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