Lafayette homeless shelters have openings just in time for cold snap


LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Lafayette homeless shelters currently have openings, which is unusual for this time of year. Lafayette Transitional Housing officials say the city has been expanding resources for the homeless, and it seems to be paying off.

But some homeless people say more still needs to be done.

Around this time a year ago, News 18 reported that all of the local homeless shelters were at capacity. As of now, it’s a different story.

Lafayette Urban Ministry is at 60 percent capacity and has 18 beds remaining as of Wednesday night.

Salvation Army is another local shelter, which primarily takes families. They offer three bedrooms for families – and they also have room right now.

But with lower temps coming, this may not last too much longer.

“It’s not cool, it’s a very stressful life being homeless,” Anne Williams said. “And people don’t realize just how hard it is to live on the streets.”

Imagining just how hard it is to live on the streets in such cold conditions is close to impossible for many; but for Chris Sullivan, it’s a reality.

He said it has been tough finding a bed to sleep in every night since last October. Lately, he’s been sleeping at Lafayette Urban Ministry’s homeless shelter.

“I look at it as just another day,” Sullivan said.

Fortunately, LUM has had open beds for a couple of weeks. But during the day, Sullivan spends his time at Lafayette Transitional Housing.

“To stay warm, and to eat and just to hang out,” he said.

But the center is only open from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sullivan said the shelters don’t open until 9 a.m. – making those three hours in between tough.

“I go to the library, or a bus station, or somewhere like that where it’s warm,” Sullivan said.

LUM is the only option for single men and women, and it’s the only option for Sullivan.

Even though there have been openings recently, Williams said more could be done.

“There’s not enough being done, not even close,” Williams said.

She has been sleeping on the floor of a laundry room for the past several weeks.

“It’s frustrating, aggravating, and it angers you,” said Williams.

She wishes there were more shelters in the area. This is also an idea Lt. Jessica Dahl with the Salvation Army agrees with.

“We usually see a spike right after the holidays,” Dahl said.

Sullivan said his problems may not end with the holidays, but they are getting better.

“I’m working with my family – working through our problems,” he said. “And today, they are coming to get me and take me out to eat, so I hopefully can turn that around.”

Lafayette Transitional Housing executive director Jennifer Layton said there are openings this year because there are more resources, but it’s a slow process. Its goal eventually is to build more homeless shelters in the area.