DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines shelter is bending some of its rules to ensure that homeless people have a place to stay during the dangerous chill that’s descended over much of the Midwest.

Central Iowa Shelters & Services is letting people stay longer as the temperature remains zero (minus 18 Celsius) or below. The shelter usually enforces a time limit on stays. The shelter also is converting its computer lab into living space.

Some of the homeless say they don’t want to use shelter facilities for fear of losing their belongings. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie says, “It’s their lives. It’s their possessions, and they don’t want to lose that.”

Joppa, a group that assists Des Moines’ homeless, is providing tents and heaters to people who lose possessions while in the shelter.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.