Shelters pushing capacity as temperatures dip
Area homeless shelters were at capacity Thursday night. The cold weather kept shelter organizers busy and has those staying there thankful to have a roof over their heads.
“It’s really cold.” Michael Lunsford about sums it up. He stays at the Good Shepherd Center and sees first-hand the influx of people.
“As it gets cold, there’s a lot more people at night that are coming in here. We got people who sleep in the woods in the surrounding area. They’re coming out of those woods. It’s really cold,” he said.
The Good Shepherd Center can hold more than one hundred people at night, but with even more people expected, the mats, pillows, and blankets are ready for those who may not usually turn to a shelter.
“When it becomes this severe, either on their own or with the encouragement of a caring police officer or a neighbor in the community, they might be encouraged to come in here for a few nights,” said Good Shepherd Center Executive director, Katrina Knight.
What many may not realize is that the shelter is just about at capacity every night of the year. “The lines used to be just in the main lobby, they’re going all out the door now,” described Lunsford.
It is a similar scene at the Salvation Army. “The beds that have been empty before the cold are now filling up,” Salvation Army shelter monitor, Andrea Lindemon.
Beds and hot food are ready for those who will spend the cold night here. Salvation Army resident, Tanya-onyia McCants said, “It’s very important for someone to be able to come in out of the cold when you don’t have family or friends or anyone to turn to.”
The people at the shelters are thankful to have these shelters to turn to, knowing the alternative could be deadly.
Despite the frigid temperatures, one shelter monitor told me there are still people who refuse to come inside. Shelter workers try to give them what they need to stay comfortable outside overnight.