Updated: Tuesday, 01 Jan 2013, 10:53 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 01 Jan 2013, 10:50 PM EST
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- As the temperatures drop, homeless shelters around the state are scrambling to find more room so no one has to be left out in the cold.
The sub freezing temperatures flood the shelters with the homeless but the Mercy Housing Shelter looks at the cold as a chance to see how bad the problem is and to help them.
"Today is Chili over rice with some buttered bread and some salad," said Karen Moss of the Mercy Housing Shelter.
Moss serves up the meal she made this afternoon. She knows when it gets this cold a hot meal can go a long way at the Elizabeth House in Hartford.
"It's wonderful to see the people come in and eat the meal that I cooked, a hot meal and just watch them sit and enjoy," said Moss.
Tonight as the temperatures continue to drop they will be monitoring it and taking people in but it is tomorrow morning that has many worried because around 6:00, 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning the overnight shelters kick everyone out onto the streets. That's when they will open the friendship shelter and no matter how bad it gets they will have a place to get 3 square meals.
"When it is this cold, they come and spend the day here. Luckily children are usually in school so we don't usually see that many children but during vacations you will see more children and families coming through," said Colleen Corriveau of the Mercy Housing Shelter.
The rattles of plates is just the beginning for Mercy Housing Shelter. The cold is an opportunity to take stock of the homeless population and see what the problem are and help. They offer counselors and case managers who can help with everything from health care to employment and the cold gives them an opportunity to help more homeless.
"We served more than 5-thousand people last year along with their families and we have many programs whether it's transitional shelter for the day or supportive housing. We really try to help people," said Corriveau.
That includes helping with the paperwork. For some, it's as easy as filling out the right forms to get into government assistance and get housing. All it takes is a helping hand in the right direction.