Albany Rescue Mission opens chapel to the cold - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Rescue Mission opens chapel to the cold

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – As the sun went down Monday night, so did the temperatures across Southwest Georgia. We were under another hard freeze warning with lows expected to dip into the low 20's.

Spending the night outside in that weather could be deadly. That's something Albany's homeless population has to worry about. Shelters are making sure they have a safe place to stay.

Even in the afternoon hours, the cold winds were picking up around Albany Monday. "Too cold for anybody to be on the outside," said Lawrence Fair.

Some have nowhere to turn for shelter from the cold. "I understand. I've been in it before," said Fair.

Fair knows from experience the cold reality.  "I have been homeless myself and I've been through it and feel for anybody out there," said Fair. But there's a warm welcome at the Albany Rescue Mission.

"We don't care where they come from or who they are. We don't turn anybody away," said Brother Larry Hample with the Albany Rescue Mission.

Nearly all of the 40 beds at the mission are full. Others have the option of staying overnight in the Mission Chapel. "So there won't be any reason for anyone to be on the street and freeze to death," said Hample.

Brother Hample says it's simply what they're called to do at the Mission. "If you put yourself in their place and you're out on the street on a night like tonight, you want to be somewhere," said Hample.

"I just hope that they come in and we won't have to have any fatalities, nobody freezing because they didn't have anywhere to come, feeling like they aren't welcome. They're welcome here anytime," said Fair.

It's the same welcome Fair received four years ago and now he's giving it back. "To me, it really feels good," said Fair.

He now works at the mission--a warm difference from the cold out there on the streets.

The Rescue Mission says as long as the temperatures stay cold this week they'll have the chapel open. As long as people show up by 9 p.m., they're guaranteed a warm place to at least escape the cold until morning and they can then get a warm breakfast.

The Salvation Army has been full the past few days also. They say they'll place mattresses on the floor if they need to make sure everyone has a safe place to sleep.

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