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More space available at extreme weather shelter in Eureka

EUREKA- With freezing temperatures in the last few days, extreme weather shelters have opened their doors on the North Coast.  However, officials with Eureka Rescue Mission say more space is available at the shelter.

Some homeless people in Eureka say sleeping during the winter can be difficult.

"I put on my earphones and just sit there and wait for the next day, even though it's freezing and everything, and pouring down rain or snowing and I'm having a really hard time," said Deborah, who is homeless and lives in Eureka.

"Your hands freeze up.  Your feet freeze up sometimes when it gets really, really cold," said Charles Smith, a homeless person living in Eureka.

The Eureka Rescue Mission only opens its emergency weather shelter when the temperature is 32 degrees or below, or more than 1 inch of rain is expected. 

"They're able to walk into a place, where when you open the front door, and you feel the warmth of the building inside take off the chill from the outside, it changes everything.  You can take your coat off and relax.  It's a good environment.  It's clean," said Bryan Hall, Sr., the Executive Director of Eureka Rescue Mission.

Although current night conditions warrant the shelter opening, it has remained unused this year. The shelter will stay that way unless the Eureka Rescue Mission approaches full capacity.

"Some people would prefer camping out.  Some people who come, they come just to eat and they have tents and places that they go," Hall, Sr. said.

"I stay outdoors and I feel sufficient enough.  And sometimes when it gets cold, they need more space for people who aren't as well geared up, so I feel I don't need to be indoors when I'm well okay outside," said Rik Ault, who is homeless and living in Manila.

Others have different reasons for not wanting to stay at a shelter.

"I'm a light sleeper.  So if I hear any noise, I'm just going to be up all night, and if you're up all night, you're not getting any rest, so it's like, what's the point of being there?," said Jay Thomas, a homeless person living in Eureka.

The Eureka Rescue Mission can house 65 men and 35 women and children.  The extreme weather shelter can hold about 30 men.

"All they have to do is behave themselves and conduct themselves in a proper way.  The rules aren't really strict here.  You come in and don't bother anybody around them and eat their food in peace and take a nice, hot shower and go to bed," said Hall, Sr.