It’s cold for anyone having to go outside this time of year, especially for our homeless population.
Many of them are spending most of their days in freezing temperatures.
One Northwest Arkansas woman says warming shelters may have saved her life.
Jewelya Boyd was homeless for ten years, she now lives at the Havenwood Home in Bentonville, but she said the salvation army is why she survived being on the streets.
“When you’re homeless and it’s cold you are fighting for your life most definitely,” Boyd said.
For Boyd, staying warm isn’t something she’s taking for granted.
“I experienced homelessness for the last ten years of my life, off and on, off and on. Mostly do to my addiction and not keeping things together like i should have,” Boyd said.
She regularly used the Salvation Army’s cold weather shelters to get by during the decade she was on the streets.
“I’ve literally slept in my car and on the ground before that,” said Boyd.
A spokesperson for the Northwest Arkansas Salvation Army said the number of people coming to the shelters has increased, because of the overall population boom.
But they say no matter the building capacity size they won’t turn away people, even if it gets a bit crowded.
Boyd believes cold weather shelters saved her life, and recommends if you can’t find your way to a shelter, use blankets, hay or anything to keep yourself warm through the night..
“One bad circumstance is all it takes for someone to wind up on the streets and cold,” Boyd said.
Which is why she says we are so fortunate to live in Northwest Arkansas
“A lot of areas don’t have these shelters and opportunities and warming places. It’s hard for someone that’s out in the country I can imagine, but we are very incredibly blessed to have such warming shelters and areas that are willing to take people in for just the night,” Boyd said.
There are several options for shelters in Northwest Arkansas, including Bentonville and here in Fayetteville.
For people in the River Valley, The Community Rescue Mission in Fort Smith is also open.