MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Housing nearly 600 people a night is typical for the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center. But those numbers remain steady with the hot weather, barely giving staff a break to prepare adequate room.
Harbor Light operations manager Dominick Bouza said they are finding enough space for now.
“We open every bit of space we possibly can,” he said. “We’ll open up the hallway in front of the chapel.”
The chapel has been full the past two nights, with people sleeping side-by-side with only a thin mattress pad separating them from the hard floor. About 125 people slept in the relative cool of the chapel Monday night, with ten more people still waiting for space.
“We are getting close to maximum saturation, we’re seeing a lot of people in this building. We’re like a small town. If we get to the point where we see the numbers staying steady and hot like this, we’re going to have to sit down and have a conversation,” Bouza said. “We’re trying to make as many friends as we can out there in order to work together and do more, and be better at what we’re trying to do.
“At some point, we’re going to need some help.”
The Harbor Light chapel is open during the day as a cooling center, with water and snacks available. This is something that is done during hot days, with similar services available during cold days in the winter.
“It’s 24/7,” Bouza said.
The Salvation Army needs donations of blankets and towels during the heat wave.