Rochester homeless shelters offer places to stay warm during the bitter cold

(ABC 6 News) – There are many shelters and places to go in Rochester for those who are experiencing homelessness, especially during these cold temperatures.

The Dorothy Day Hospitality House is just one of them. It is a temporary homeless shelter that has been serving the Rochester community since 1984.

"It’s things that we kind of take for granted. It’s a warm shower, it’s a warm bed, it’s a hot meal…It’s so important for people to have access to those things, those necessities, and that’s what we’re here to provide for people," Ryan Cardarella, President of the Board of Directors and a shift volunteer at the Dorothy Day House, said.

People can stay at The Dorothy Day House for up to 14 nights and receive meals and other things they may need. Cardarella said they definitely see an uptick in guests during these colder days.

"Especially when a cold snap comes through which is what we’re experiencing right now. We definitely see some folks looking to check-in and get out of the cold," Cardarella said.

Capacity is limited at the house right now with COVID-19. They typically house 23 people but currently are only allowing 15. Cardarella said they typically operate at full capacity through the winter months.

"We’ve been pretty close to full through the winter here. We do have a couple of open beds right now but on a night to night basis those often get filled up," he said.

Rochester Public Transit (RPT) is offering ‘A Warm Place to Be’ during the dangerous cold this weekend where anyone can hop on an RPT bus free of charge.

"Just need to board the bus and tell the bus driver ‘I’m just looking for a warm place to be’ or ‘I need to escape the cold’ and the bus driver should let them on board," Nick Lemmer, Communications Coordinator for the City of Rochester, said.

This program by RPT started in the summertime with ‘A Cool Place to Be’ during the extreme heat.

"If we have an opportunity to use those city assets to help people who are in distress because of the weather, because of the harsh, cold temperatures, then by all means as a city of compassion, we feel like that’s the right thing to do," Lemmer said.

Other places in Rochester offering services include the Rochester Community Warming Center, The Landing MN and The Salvation Army.