PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- With the winter weather and colder temperatures across Southern Colorado, the Mayor of Pueblo issued a declaration of temporary housing and shelter. Now, several places of worship have opened their doors to people in need.
The City of Pueblo passed an ordinance in October that made it possible to give $50,200 to Crazy Faith Street Ministry to function as an emergency warming shelter for 20 nights when needed this winter.
Pueblo City Council used funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Crazy Faith Ministries said it housed people in need last winter and asked the city to help out this year with some of the costs. Now, organizers say they're able to hire a security officer and help pay staff. The money also helps cover the costs of food for each person that comes through.
"It's about opening up our doors when the temperatures get so frigid that people could die," said Tammy Kainz, Director of Crazy Faith Street Ministry.
A 2021 ordinance allows the Mayor to declare a temporary weather emergency during cold months and temporarily suspend city zoning codes to allow religious groups to shelter people in need overnight.
According to the ordinance, the mayor is traditionally only allowed to declare an emergency between Dec. 1 and March 31.
However, during Monday's city council meeting, elected officials amended that ordinance to start to begin a month earlier, now beginning on Nov. 1. This was due to freezing temperatures coming a bit early.
On Tuesday, Gradisar issued a declaration of temporary housing and shelter emergency for the City of Pueblo. During this emergency, local churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other religious institutions may utilize their buildings as temporary shelters.
Kainz said they're now able to house up 50 people this year due to the support of the city. Since the declaration was announced, they've housed nearly 30 people.
"Most of them will just kind of curl up peacefully and just have a nice, warm place to be. And then they get served a hot breakfast before they leave the next morning," said Kainz.
The emergency declaration will end on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2022, at 7 a.m. Kainz said she keeps her doors open from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m.
If you would like to donate to help out Crazy Faith Street Ministry's organization, click here.