by Lauren Seabrook
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
7:48 PM CST, February 9, 2013
Although bad weather usually brings more people into shelters, the overall numbers are down this year, and the state of homelessness is changing. Union Rescue Mission Executive Director Denny Bender says, "We're seeing a lot more men who have recently been released from incarceration, but they can't find a place that will accept them to live. Or they can't find a job."
Bender says even though less men are coming to the shelter than last year, it is still full. He says, "We are the biggest emergency shelter, but even we don't have enough beds. There are usually 20 to 30 men who are on mattresses on the floor."
After years of working at the mission, Bender says there are more employed homeless than before. He says, "Without transportation and with financial obligations they've incurred from their past, wether it's court fines, wether it's child support, or other obligations they have, there's not much left for rent and for food."
Bender says unfortunately many landlords ask for deposits and background checks. The shelter helps men find hope through religion. Bender says, "We firmly believe that if your intent is to help a man change his behavior patterns, the best way to do that is to influence his belief structure."
Although Union Rescue Mission receives lots of donations, they are always in need of more socks and underwear. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is located at 2800 North Hillside.
Bender says he does not suggest giving money to homeless people on the streets. He says instead ask if you can get them a food certificate or direct them to a shelter.
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