Cold-weather shelters open in North Port and Collier County

NORTH PORT

The North Port Police Department announced via Facebook that a cold-weather shelter is opening. This will provide a place to stay for those looking to get away from the freezing temperatures Southwest Florida is expecting overnight.

Bracing for another cold weekend isn’t what people in Southwest Florida are used to.

The cold weather shelter is located at the 100 Church, which is at 14525 Tamiami Trail in North Port. This is near the Blue Tequila Mexican Grill. The shelter will be open starting at 5 p.m. and will close the following morning.

Cheryl Reber is the pastor at 100 Church. “If you live in Florida any length of time, you don’t adjust very well to the cold,” Pastor Reber said.

100 Church was stocked with snacks and blankets, but most importantly, it provides people a place to sleep.

“It is hard to sleep in the colder weather here when they’re not used to it. We just don’t have a lot of areas that are protective from the elements,” said Reber.

North Port PD says the shelter will also be available for use on Sunday night, beginning at 5 p.m.

In Collier County, St. Matthew’s House also made additional preparations for another frigid weekend. They’re actually expecting more people to spend the night this weekend than last.

Kelsey Couture is the shelter manager for St. Matthew’s House’s Campbell Lodge. “We have amped up on our blankets and cots and pillows. And we make sure we have the space available for them, and we’re all staffed up and ready to receive them tonight,” said Couture.

When people arrive at Campbell Lodge in Naples or Immokalee Friendship House, a bed, blankets and snacks await them. Couture hopes that people won’t take the risk of braving the elements to sleep, at least for this weekend.

“It’s just dangerous in general for our homeless population to be out there night after night. If they’re sleeping in their car or they’re in the woods, so add cold weather to that it’s just dangerous,” Couture said.

St. Matthew’s House’s shelters will remain open for the next couple of days.

St. Matthew’s House requires guests to wear masks in the shelter and to take a breathalyzer. The Homeless Coalition in Port Charlotte is also serving as a cold-weather shelter this weekend.

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