EVANSVILLE, Ind. - As we prepare for winter and the weather that comes with it; homeless shelters in the tri-state will see more people looking for their help. One Evansville shelter has an even bigger challenge --bed bugs. That shelter is United Caring Services and they have been dealing with this problem for about a year. The shelter is not hiding their problem with bed bugs but, actively seeking to fix it.
"Not very pleasant...it had bugs!"
"Who wants to get in bed with bugs!"
At one point these men were homeless and stayed at the shelter --where they say the bed bugs were rampant.
"I didn't know where they were coming from", says one who didn't want to be identified.
He showed us - bites from the bugs - a reminder of his experience at the shelter. It's an issue that the United Caring Services is taking very seriously.
"We realized about a year ago, that we had bed bug problems.They came on rather suddenly" says Executive Director, Kimron Reising.
Reising says they've spent $10,000 to buy a heating tent to kill the bugs. He says it's an uphill battle; given so many coming to the shelter could come with the bugs on them. The 62 wooden bunks at the shelter are breeding grounds for the eggs of these bugs. The shelter is also stressing --personal hygiene.
"We put a new protocol in place to ask; were there bugs where you stayed previously".
Jeremy Casten who left the shelter last month says he was proactive in combatting the critters.
"It took me about a week or two to shake them! I just got rid of my clothes to get them off me!"
Riesing says the bugs are a costly problem that is taking funding from other services the shelter could offer.
"But that's a service to provide a sanitary place for the homeless to sleep; that's what we do."
The shelter says their working closely with a pest consultant to fix the problem. Riesing says, only half of the shelter's funding comes from the government; so the shelter is relying heavily on the help of the community to help provide funding for more heating tents.