DENVER (CBS4)– An upcoming stretch of below-freezing temperatures can be dangerous for the many people experiencing homelessness in Colorado. So for the next few days, a number of shelters are extending their hours and making room for more people.

In Denver, both the Salvation Army’s Crossroads Shelter and the Denver Rescue Mission will be operating with extended hours. On Saturday night, the Denver Rescue Mission had 729 guests and at the Salvation Army, it was just as busy.

Shelters for those experiencing homelessness are filing up quickly with frigid temps and snow. (credit: CBS)

“The last few days, the Crossroads shelter has been even more close to capacity,” said Major Phyllis Pease of the Salvation Army.

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On top of offering a bed and warm meal, the shelter is working to bring more people inside. Over the next few nights, the Salvation Army Search and Rescue Team will drive around Denver and seek out people in need.

“If they want shelter, they transport them to a shelter, whether it’s Crossroads or somewhere else,” said Pease. “If they do wish to remain out on the street, they provide coats and blankets and water and snacks.”

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Not everyone chose to spend the night in a shelter though. CBS4 spoke with several people who spent the afternoon preparing for a night in the cold.

“It’s time to start getting all our food together and making sure our other meetings and expectations are done before we settle down for the night,” said Drew, who only gave his first name.

Drew said he will take the help from organizations, but not the ride to a shelter. He says many others will skip shelters too because they have a criminal past, open warrants, or don’t have identification, which some shelters require.

“Basically, you get turned away,” he said.

The Salvation Army’s crossroads location does not require identification or a background check to stay the night, a representative said. Neither does the Denver Rescue Mission.

Conor McCue

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