Acadiana shelters opening early for homeless

Area homeless shelters were opening their doors early Monday in anticipation of below-freezing temperatures and freezing rain forecasted to fall after midnight Tuesday.

The two local men’s shelters — St. Joseph’s Shelter for Men and the Salvation Army — both reported large numbers of men seeking shelter last week when below-freezing temperatures created icy and hazardous road conditions across Acadiana.

“Last week, we saw 36 individuals that participated in our freeze plan at St. Joseph’s Shelter for Men, which is the most we’ve seen for a freeze plan. We anticipate that we’ll see those same numbers this week,” said Sarah Clement, development director for Lafayette Catholic Service Centers. “Tonight, we’re printing out forecast maps to put in the diner and in our hygiene facility to post where we can so people can know how serious it will be and where they can seek shelter.”

St. Joseph’s Shelter, 425 St. John St., planned to open its doors at 3 p.m. Monday.

Donations of hand warmers, disinfectant products and warm food are also needed, Clement said.

Lunch isn’t a need — St. Joseph’s Diner will be open for lunch meals Tuesday and Wednesday, she said.

“We do have some restaurants who are our partners,” she said. “We’d love more people to donate meals.”

The Lighthouse Shelter for Women and Children asked that women and their children in need of a place to stay arrive by 5 p.m. Monday.

Those seeking services may call the shelter at (337) 289-9141 or receive a referral from 232-HELP or another area agency, said Jill Meaux, Lighthouse Shelter executive director.

Meaux said the shelter could use donations of food, paper products and blankets.