The doors to warming shelters are open and looking to help people get a warm night’s rest

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Winter is here, along with low-degree temperatures, and with that comes warming shelters starting to open their doors to those looking to get a night of rest in a warm and heated environment.

In the Northland, the homeless population continues to increase, and in these colder months, it can be dangerous for people to be sheltering outside. Warming shelters can provide people with a warm night’s rest and a place to feel comfortable and more.

“The Ruth house actually began about four years ago now. We rented a small house over on Banks and 12th in Superior. We just decided that it was something that this community really needed. We were seeing a lot of people cold and without food to eat, so we just decided as a group to open the house,” said Christyna Foster, The Ministry Coordinator of Walking Victorious and Ruth House Ministries.

The Ruth House warming shelter is open every night from 8 pm to 8 am when the temperatures are below thirty degrees and stays open year-round until temperatures are above 30 degrees. “Initially when we were at the small house on Banks and 12th, you know, it was anywhere from 10 to 15 people a night that would stay there. At that time, they slept on the floor in a sleeping bag, Foster shared. We did not have cots at the time when we were gifted this building. At 632 Grand is when the numbers really started to increase. We can see up to 40 people a night staying here at times.”

For anyone who wants to utilize a warming shelter, a typical night in the Ruth House warming center goes like this. “We do have a nighttime monitor that stays here just to ensure everything is safe for everyone here. That nighttime monitor will check people in, get them a cot, a blanket, or a sleeping bag. People come in; they can have a snack before they go to bed. It is usually a very quiet night here,” Foster shared.

When it comes to having people feel comfortable visiting and staying in warming shelters, Foster explained that there is one important thing that can help make those interactions feel welcoming. “We needed to develop relationships with people first. People would come here and shower and grab something to eat. But it was really about developing relationships with people and allowing them to build trust with us, knowing that we were a safe place that they could come.”

If you would like to learn more about the Ruth House and all the services they provide and more, visit their website or you can call them at (715) 392-2833.