While Buckeye Chuck declared this week that Ohioans will see an early spring this year, winter is not over yet.
According to the National Weather Service, Marion County will see high temperatures in the 20s and teens this weekend and next week, with lows in the single digits.
Saturday’s high will be 20 degrees, with wind chills as low as -5. The low will drop down to 10. On Sunday, the high will only get up to 15 degrees, with a low temperature of 4.
The cold front continues into next week, with Monday’s high getting up to 22. By Wednesday, temperatures will only reach 16, with a low of 3 degrees.
To help keep people off the streets during this extremely cold stretch, the Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter will have its doors open to those looking to stay warm. The shelter recently began operating 24 hours again after temporarily having limited hours Saturdays and Sundays. Director Heath Ring said it was due to the shelter being short-staffed.
Intake hours for residents are from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
“For us, it’s business as usual,” he said. “We’re operating consistently. We’re not planning on closing the shelter.”
According to its website, Heart of Ohio began as the Marion Shelter Program, Inc. in 1988 and operates a men’s, women’s and family shelter at 326 W. Fairground Street. The organization provides people with emergency shelter for a maximum of 60 days, with food and on-site laundry. Staff also help guests with job search requirements, a Goodwill voucher for clothing and monthly bus passes.
Due to the pandemic, the maximum bed occupancy is 29. There are currently three men, two women and three families made up of five adults and six children at the shelter, said Ring.
COVID-19 guidelines at the shelter include asking about symptoms when someone enters the shelter and wearing a mask in common areas and places where people are unable to be 6 feet apart, said Program Specialist Paulette Doolittle.
“We’re open now to the residents 24/7,” Ring said. “They don’t have to leave for any period of time.”
For more information, call the shelter at 740-387-4550 or visit heartofohiohomelessshelter.org.