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Naples shelter welcoming those escaping chilly temperatures

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jan 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 06:29:42-05

NAPLES, Fla. — Temperatures are expected to be chilly throughout Southwest Florida this week. For those with nowhere to go, the Campbell Lodge has opened their doors.

“With the drop in temperature we're opening our doors for cold weather shelter,” says Brittany Hargrove, director of shelters with the St. Matthews House.

They've opened the doors of their shelters in Naples and Immokalee.

“They're able to stay through the night and are asked to leave property by about 5 AM the next day,” says Hargrove.

But, there are some barriers to entry.

“There is a breathalyzer test that's required for entry and then we do have a temperature check just to mitigate any spread of illness.”

Part of that mitigation also affects bed capacity, with both the 104 bed Naples shelter and the 44 bed Immokalee shelter being limited to 75 percent due to CDC restrictions.

“It's not often that we get a dip in temperature, so a lot of people like to give us blankets when it gets chilly,” Hargrove says.

And with that dip in temperature comes a rise in demand - with the St. Matthews House reporting just over a hundred people on the waiting list for the Naples shelter.

Hargrove says that so far, none of those on the list were affected by last week's tornadoes.

But it's easy to see why it's been popular when the shelter promises a meal, a place to sleep, and even a cup of Joe in the morning.

“We have our open clothing closet and they're welcome to take any hygiene products that they need. If they haven't eaten, we'll find them some food and of course he'll get coffee in the morning,” Hargrove explains.

"There's no pressure. Just come talk to us and feel it out. You're welcome to come and see what the facility looks like before you stay.”

The St. Matthews House is asking for donations of blankets to help everyone stay warm as temperatures drop, with donations being accepted at either of their shelters or their six thrift stores in Southwest Florida.

The St. Matthews House says that the Collier County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve their request for another 46 beds in the Naples shelter, which should give them a 150 bed capacity.

The final approval is expected to come Tuesday afternoon.