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Hope Ministries may not use cots donated for weather amnesty

WSBT 22

An area homeless shelter is trying to determine whether it will use cots donated by St. Joseph County Emergency Management.

Hope Ministries are concerned the makeshift beds may be difficult to clean. They say sanitation is important to them.

Hope Ministries' Project Warm received 30 cots. A spokesperson says the shelter is grateful for the donation-- but it's not something it really needed.

For more than seven years, Hope Ministries has been part of the county's weather amnesty program.

During that time it has used mats as beds for the homeless seeking shelter from the cold.

"Every night these are washed down thoroughly with bleach. All the sheets that are used are washed every night and so its met our needs. We're still investigating how we'll be able to use the cots but for now this has been a wonderful solution for us,” said Steven Matteson, Director of Ministry Partnerships.

Matteson says the cots are not something they had requested.

John Antonucci, Director of St. Joseph County Emergency Management, says its point of contact with the weather amnesty program told them differently. That's why the agency spent 18 months getting the $2,000 grant.

Antonucci says the cots are similar to the ones distributed by the American Red Cross during disaster relief situations. They even tested the cots durability by rubbing a chocolate bar on it and cleaning it with Windex. He also suggests a plastic liner could be used to cover the cots.

"It does have a cloth-like outer shell and a vinyl inner shell. So, it does afford a certain degree of being water repellent, moisture repellent, things of that sort,” said Antonucci.

Matteson says at this point they are still evaluating if and how they will use the cots.

"If not, we're certainly going to find a place where they are going to be utilized to their fullest capacity,” he said.

WSBT 22 contacted two other shelters that received donated cots.

The Center for the Homeless could not be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for Life Treatment Centers says some people still prefer to use the mats because they are thicker and more comfortable. Life Treatment is using the donated cots, which they say are easily disinfected.

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