Rockford Rescue Mission's Men's Crisis Center is up to capacity tonight, with 91. However, Men's Program supervisor, Mike Hedrick, tells us the growth is due to more than just dropping temperatures.
"The homeless population is getting pretty scared out there. We've had the men tell us that after the couple murders that we had this summer, so they're actually coming in seeking help," says Hedrick, who believes many of the homeless in the area are seeking shelter because of this recent violence.
James Powell is staying at the Rockford Rescue Mission tonight because he recently was laid off from his job. He says he was on his way to Minneapolis for a job, when his car broke down, and he was unable to travel. Stuck in Rockford, he attained another job, but was caught off guard when the temperatures dropped so quickly.
"I don't think in my 58 years, I've never gone through this much adversity." says Powell, reflecting on all of his challenges, and the fact that his fiance is expecting their first child any time now. He said the mission helped provide he and his fiance with warmer clothing and a place to stay.
Though the Mission is filling up, Carpenter's Place reports numbers remaining the same as their annual averages. They say there are two reasons why they believe this happens.
"Maybe they do have a friend or family member who... because it's so bitterly cold... they make an exception, so that they can have a place to stay. Also, other times, it can be that, even if they're staying outdoors, once they get where they are, they don't want to leave there because it's going to be colder once they leave," says Executive Director, Kay Larrick.