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Northern Colorado Emergency Shelters Open As Temperatures Drop Like A Rock

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The City of Fort Collins has enacted their emergency shelter plan as temperatures are expected to plummet into the negatives at times in the coming days. Cities like Fort Collins are now offering 24 hour warming and overnight shelters to those experiencing homelessness though providers like the Catholic Charities and the Rescue Mission.

"We are going to see an increased number of folks seeking access to life saving shelter and services," said Joe Domko, Regional Director in Larimer County for Catholic Charities.

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In Fort Collins, women and families are asked to seek shelter at Catholic Charities while men are asked to seek shelter at the Fort Collins Rescue Mission. Both are located in the northeast corner of Old Town.

Domko said his shelter would likely have more than 90 people sleeping in it every night for the coming days as the Front Range combats the frigid temperatures.

Some guests, like a woman named Monica who wished not to share her full name, said they are comforted by the staff at the shelters during such tough times. The Catholic Charities shelter in Fort Collins offers three meals a day, free laundry services and showers.

"It is important that you find shelter before you are on the streets or do something else that can put your life at risk," Monica told CBS4's Dillon Thomas. "You can stay all night, you can get warm clothes and you can have anything that you need for a cold night. Especially for the people that don't have any place to go. We can find refuge right here and people that really care about us."

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Many along the Interstate 25 corridor associate homelessness with major metro area cities like Denver and Aurora. However, as Domko noted, there are many people in every community experiencing some form of homelessness.

"(A shelter) is a life support system for folks on the margins, and every community has people on the margins," Domko said.

Domko said the need for shelters has dramatically increased as of late in northern Colorado. Be it individuals or families, many are either homeless and living on the streets or doubling down in houses with friends and family.

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"We've seen almost a 100% in our nightly usage of overnight shelter by single women, and at least a 50% increase in families with children experiencing homelessness," Domko said.

Domko said one growing issue has been finding a way to reach and serve unaccompanied minors. Unaccompanied minors are defined as older children or young adults who have separated from their families and are now trying to navigate homelessness without any resource to assistance from family.

Domko encouraged anyone in need of food, warmth or shelter to reach out to an area shelter.

"We're open. And, we are going to try and serve as many people as we can," Domko said.

If you would like to assist the Catholic Charities in Denver and northern Colorado with their mission to serve those in need, visit

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