Sioux City's Gospel Mission provides a safe haven from the cold - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sioux City's Gospel Mission provides a safe haven from the cold

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People at the Gospel Mission spending time in the day room to escape the cold temperatures People at the Gospel Mission spending time in the day room to escape the cold temperatures

With the air temperature frozen near zero for much of the day Monday, and with wind chills making it feel like -40 in the morning, people were warned to stay inside, Monday

But, for those without a home, much less a warm place to sleep, homeless shelters were a welcome alternative.

Robert Cowan, who's spent several years at the Gospel Mission in Sioux City, said he's thankful to know where he'll lay his head tonight.

 "Of course it's nice to know, I'm not sleeping under a bridge. You know people who sleep under bridges don't have that opportunity," Cowan said.

Cowan said he knows people that have had to resort to sleeping outside.

"People got to survive. People don't have a place to go to. They got to do the best they can," Cowan said.

Pastor and Executive Director of the Gospel Mission in Harold Youtzy, Jr. said Sunday night they still had 25 open beds in their men's shelter.

Youtzy's been associated with the mission since 1985. He said he's never known of a time when they had to turn someone away because they didn't have enough beds, but he stressed how important it is for everyone to follow the rules.

"We let them know there's no alcohol on premise. You have to respect other individuals and there's no foul language, and things like that," Youtzy said.

When the weather gets to dangerous temperatures, Youtzy said they do make exceptions when they must.

"As long as we sense that there would be no ramifications in terms of intolerance, we would probably permit them to stay," Youtzy said.

But, if someone broke the rules and was kicked out the Mission before, Youtzy said they have to be cautious.

"They've made choices and they've been poor choices that have put them in the position that they're in. If they come to us and they're barred from staying with us, there's a reason that they're barred," Youtzy said.

Some Mission guests said turning away those who pose a threat make them feel safe.

"You feel protected. If somebody's under the influence of alcohol, with all these different nationalities and people here, anything could happen," Cowan said.

And, that sense of protection is something Youtzy wants all to feel when they're staying at the shelter.

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