There is an overnight shelter in the City of Butler that can welcome you in from the cold if you have nowhere else to go.
The Winter Relief Center is located inside a building on Center Avenue and is run by the Grace Youth and Family Foundation.
“I think people stereotypically think that there are more homeless people when it’s cold,” Founder Bill Halle said. “That’s not necessarily the case. There’s homeless people all year long even when there’s nice weather outside. But the concern for them seems to grow as the weather worsens.”
The Winter Relief Shelter is open nightly from 9pm to 8am and has seen an average of six people per night since it opened for the season on Nov. 1, according to Halle. That number will likely grow in late January and February.
“After the holidays there is usually an uptick in the number of people looking for a place to stay because many times during the holidays, people have the opportunity to stay with friends or family,” he said. “Last year our high was 16 or 17 people in one night in February,” he said.
People are vetted when they arrive to stay to ensure they aren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol before they’re given a hot meal and cot to sleep on. If they are struggling with substance abuse, they are taken to the appropriate medical or addiction facility.
There are several reasons why someone is homeless, according to Halle. They could be struggling with mental health issues that have impacted their ability to be employed; some people are in recovery and are making really good decisions to be homeless because the situation that they were living in would have continued their drug and alcohol use; and some are just down on their luck and have run into severe financial problems.
“There are definitely some misconceptions,” he said.
Butler’s homeless shelter is funded solely through the donations of local residents, churches and businesses. You can donate here.