Shelters fill up as extreme cold sets in

ELKHART, Ind. -- Temperatures will drop into the single digits overnight and the wind chill is expected to be below zero. The Faith Mission shelter in Elkhart is full, but they won’t turn anyone away that needs a warm place to stay.

Mike Perez, the Development Director at Faith Mission in Elkhart knows the temperatures Michiana is experiencing can be deadly.

"We have 152 beds. We serve single women, single men and families,” said Perez.

Even though those are full right now, he says this week the doors will remain open.

"Last night when it really kicked up, we had about 20 guys on the floor and we had like three single women,” said Perez.

More people at the shelter could mean fewer people in the ER during these brutally cold days and nights.

"People could get frostbite very quickly with exposed skin, especially in times when the temperatures are colder and the wind is more powerful,” said Dr. Michelle Bache, Elkhart General.

Bache says its import to know the first warning signs when out in these conditions.

"Typically you'll start to feel cold and then you might have some pain in the area. The area gets painful, maybe some tingling and that would be a sign that you should probably get covered or get inside,” said Bache.

She warns if you don't, you could lose fingers, toes or worse. It could turn deadly if your body goes into hypothermia.

Perez says if you feel like you are in danger even if your house doesn't have heat, no matter what the circumstances, you too are welcome at faith mission.

"I mean that's what we are here for, that's what people give us money for. That's what we’re supported for,” said Perez.

The mission is serving a free hot meal to anyone who shows up.

That's when they expect a lot of those guests will decide to spend the night.

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