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Homeless shelters seeing rise in number of people seeking help

Central Nebraska seeing a rise in homelessness
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 7:31 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Local homeless shelters are seeing an increase in the number of people reaching out for assistance. Hastings Crossroads Mission Avenue is one of the homeless centers who reported a more-than-usual amount of people looking to utilize their services and stay in shelter.

Shelter Executive Director Daniel Buller said this had been a common theme among all locations of Crossroads in the tri-cities. He noted, on a single day, they had 10 men, women and families visit their facilities.

“Lately, what we’ve noticed is a lot of people coming in seeking shelter, seeking our homeless shelter services and today, between Hastings, Grand island and Kearney, we’re just a little over 140 people total,” he said.

Jeffery Simpson was a resident at the Hastings shelter. He said he came to Crossroads around two months ago to help get him back on his feet.

“I’ve been homeless off and on for the last five years and Hastings is a great place, there’s a lot of good people here,” Simpson said. “They’re here to help you in tough times.”

Buller said helping people like Simpson is what their shelter was all about.

“It’s a great feeling to know that people have a safe place to go,” Buller said “The basic human needs are a safe shelter and food, and on top of that, somebody who cares about them.”

In October, Shawn Tufino also came to Hastings Crossroads after being hospitalized for difficulties with breathing and walking. She said the shelter staff had been by her side to help her battle through these conditions.

“I was in the hospital for four days in St. Francis medical center, came here and they’ve just been great here,” Tufino said. “They have been supportive, they have an excellent program here, they’re there when you need .... they’re responsive to your needs immediately, they check on you regularly, they know everybody by name.”

Looking ahead to the future, Buller said the Crossroads would continue help people like Simpson and Tufino.

“We’ve been smart with how to make it a sustainable work and we really believe that we’re set up to serve these communities for many years to come,” Buller said.

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