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Rare Breed Seeks New Warming Shelter Location

Photo credit: Acid Pix/Flickr

The first taste of sub-freezing temperatures this week could have those in need wondering where to go for a safe night’s sleep. But as KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the choices in Springfield may be fewer than last year.

Local agencies like the Salvation Army and American Red Cross offer overnight warming shelters during times of extreme cold weather. While it was unclear if they were planning to open their doors this week with temperatures expected to drop below 20 degrees, another organization finds itself without a shelter as the winter season approaches.

For the past couple of years, Rare Breed Youth Services has teamed with First Baptist Church to house, on average, just over a dozen young men on not just freezing nights, but other times of inclement weather. However, due to staffing shortages, the church is no longer able to fulfill that agreement.

Loni Brewer, coordinator for Rare Breed, says they’ve been reaching out through the faith-based community to identify a new location.

“So far we’ve had several people step forward and say that they would be willing to volunteer in churches, but we haven’t had any facilities step up and say that they could provide the actual shelter,” Brewer says.

She adds that without a warm place to stay, youth are out on the streets longer, and more likely to engage in drinking or drugs. Another concern of Brewer’s is what she refers to as “survivor sex” as a means to get out of the elements.

“What happens is somebody says, ‘Oh, you can come stay at my house,' and then they get over to that person’s house and the person then tries to perpetrate on them.”

She’s hoping for a solution before the temperatures drop below freezing on a consistent basis. After Monday evening’s cold front pushes through, the forecast calls for temperatures to gradually rise.