TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The freezing temperatures of winter can be a challenge for anyone, but for those without a roof overhead, it could mean a fight for life. The Valley House Homeless Shelter in Twin Falls has been very busy working to meet the demand of people in need.
In an average year, the shelter typically sees an increase in people utilizing its services. This year is no different, as the Valley House is at full capacity.
“We did have a little bit of a dip," said Kim Spiers, the Assistant Director of Valley House Homeless Shelter. "Before we had a couple of open beds and now they are full again. I think we have one open female bed as of right now, but we don’t have any family units available and we don’t have any men’s beds that are open.”
Despite having no available space, Valley house has been continuing to assist people by connecting them with other organizations and providing essential items for the winter months.
“We still want to care for them as well as possible, by giving them the food, by giving them things to keep them warm," said Spiers. "We also contact or work with other resources or other agencies in the area to help, maybe purchase a bus ticket to get them back to their family.”
As the cold temperatures continue, those staying at the shelter couldn’t be more appreciative.
“I know what it is to be outside with no heat and no coat, and what seems like such a simple thing…it isn’t," said Stormi Barberi, a Valley House Resident. "Without these people, I don’t know what so many of us would have done. I really don’t.”
Stormi Barberi has been staying at the shelter for the past four months with her family. Although Stormi understands people's hesitance to reach out because of pride or the potential stigma, she encourages those in dire circumstances to get help.
“This is a place that you can go where you don’t feel judged," said Barberi. "You don’t feel less than, you don’t feel smaller than, everybody here has a past. Everybody here has needed help and there has never been a moment here when we haven't felt welcome.”
Having been at the shelter these past couple of months, Stormi and her family are now looking to take the next step.
“Since we’ve been here, we've been able to buy a new car, working full time, we have our kids here half the time," said Barberi. "Now, we’re putting in applications for apartments and other places and being able to save money.”
As the winter progresses, the Valley House is looking for donations of essential items to try and help all of those they can.
“We always, always, always, need food, and we always need bedding," said Spiers. "As well as hygiene and cleaning supplies.”