Arctic Blast sends dozens to shelters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Arctic Blast sends dozens to shelters

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

January 15, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - At 5 o'clock Thursday afternoon more than a dozen people were outside the doors of the Salvation Army in Albany.

"We fill up pretty quickly," said Greg Whiteler, Salvation Army.

Some came for food, some came for a warm bed on a cold night, and others showed up for both.

"We are quite full but we've been having more people coming because of the weather," said Whiteler.

Whiteler works at the shelter and has seen many of the people before.

He says on cold nights more people show up to spend the night.

"January is traditionally our busiest month because that's when the weather starts to get colder," said Whiteler.

And for the next couple of days it'll stay that way.

Out of the 40 beds at the Salvation Army shelter Whiteler said about six or seven remain open.

"Salvation Army, is at 304 West 2nd Avenue, we don't want to se anyone suffer from the cold if we can help it," said Whiteler.

The men and women stay here from 7a.m. to 7p.m.

Thursday night they waited as temperatures began to fall to claim their bunk.

Those who come here have 14 days before they have to leave.

"Fourteen days for the regular nights but when it's cold, you know just come on in and get out of the cold," said Whiteler.

Some plan ahead, showing up with sleeping bags just incase they don't make it inside.

But even for those who sleep elsewhere Whiteler said they need to plan ahead during the winter months.

"Tomorrow night is going to be really cold so people have to be really aware of where they're going to sleep," said Whiteler.

The Salvation Army does not count severely cold nights as part of that maximum of 14 days that people are allowed to stay there.

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