Winter Brings Hundreds to the People's City Mission

Lakota Granger stays at the People's City Mission. She's been there for months, but has never seen it this full.

"It picked up tremendously about a week before Christmas hit," said Granger, "which was expected because I knew a lot of families that were probably staying with other families that couldn't hold that many people."

She is staying at the mission with her son and daughter, while looking for a job.

She moved to Nebraska in October to find a better school for her daughter and her son-- who has autism.

"It's been really different now because more people come in because it's winter time," said her son, "and I've made more friends."

They family shares one room with three beds. She said it's like living in an apartment-- without a refrigerator or a stove.

The family is one of more than 360 people who are now staying at the shelter.

There has been an increase in the past few weeks-- due to the cold weather.

"All of our rooms are filled [and] beds are filled," said Jerry Owen, Executive Director of the People City Mission. "We are now sleeping both men, women and kids on cots in various areas of the mission."

With overnight temperatures expected to be in the single digits the rest of the week, they expect more people to come.

Owen said he expects to reach a peak of almost 400 people.

"We will make room," he said. "At this point, especially in the men's side, we are wall to wall beds. The cots are very close together, but we will make room."

However, space isn't the only concern.

"This is when we really focus on our financial needs to see that we can make ends meet. When it gets cold, we're looking at utility bills. It does put a financial strain, and those are the things we're looking for help with in the next few weeks."

He said he doesn't expect a break until March or April.