SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Safe to Sleep program is a warm and safe place to sleep for women who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets. When organizers got it going, and set up cots in churches like Pathways United Methodist, they thought there might be 12 or 15 homeless women who could use a place to stay at night. They were shocked by the number of women needing to get inside out of the elements at a place where they can feel safe.
The women setting up for the night at Pathways United Methodist Church on Monday are happy to be setting up inside.
"I thank God every day for this, because sleeping in a tent was just not cutting it, and it was getting cold," said Sandy Hainline.
Until eight months ago, Hainline had an apartment and a job.
"I've always worked since I was 16 years old, and everything just went out from under me," Hainline said.
She is one of about 20 women spending the night at Safe to Sleep and one of 420 in a little more than a year.
"They're very ordinary women with some problem that caused them to need a place to stay tonight," said Romona Baker, Safe to Sleep coordinator.
Baker says the need became apparent about a year and a half ago.