APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — People who need a warm place to stay, day and night, are now welcome at Community of Christ Church in Apple Valley.

The emergency shelter opened as program directors realized the need would grow as the temperatures plummeted.

“Typically we are open just overnight, but we are open 24 hours a day just to keep people inside,” Kristen Brown with Matrix Housing Services said.

People who have a tie to Dakota County can find shelter at the church. They have a big room that offers the homeless a place to sleep and three meals a day.

“It’s critical because people get, it’s so cold outside that people can get injured very quickly outside so having the space open, even during the day, it’s so cold that there’s nowhere to go,” Brown said.

Dr. David Plummer with Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis echoes that sentiment.

“This is weather cold enough that you can sustain injury to your skin, frostbite or hypothermia just in minutes,” Dr. Plummer said.

He warns frost bite often happens on the exposed part of the skin: Nose, fingers or ears will go numb.

“The hallmark is you start to lose sensation on it, on re-warming it starts to hurt. Further rewarming should be accomplished by submerging in water and it should not be exposed to a dry source of heat,” Dr. Plummer said.

Those welcomed inside the emergency shelter were grateful to have a warm place to call home during the chill of the day.

“They’ve been really nice and they took us all in and they respect us and they give us a safe place to sleep at night and good food, help us out,” a woman at the shelter said.

The shelter will be open until Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. when the temperature is expected to be back in the double digits. The shelter is located at 5990 134 Street Court in Apple Valley. The number to call is (651) 319-2153.

YouthLink in Minneapolis will be open for youth ages 16-24 Saturday night through Monday, Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. They are offering shelter, warm meals, jackets, mittens and other clothing for those in need.

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