Finding shelter during Georgia's deep freeze - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Finding shelter during Georgia's deep freeze

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

February 4, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An arctic blast had South Georgia in a deep freeze overnight Wednesday. 

For some people who don't have a home, The Albany Rescue Mission tries to lend a helping hand, making room for anyone who needs a place to sleep.

Willie Frank remembers what it's like to be outside in the cold.

"It's dangerous, it's cold, it's wet, it's scary, and it isn't the place to be. I don't want to be there any more," said Willie Frank, Albany.

Like so many others Frank found his way to the Albany Rescue Mission close to a year ago.

"A lot of them let their pride keep them from coming from a shelter, because they choose to live that life," said Frank

They held service Wednesday night for men, women, and children who stay here.

"You take the next two nights, 18-20 degrees, you can freeze to death out there," said Larry Hample, Albany Rescue Mission.

Hample says on cold nights like this, more people take advantage of their services.

"Today I noticed people were in the chapel long before the noon service, which told me they wanted off the street even during the day," said Hample

Hample says even the hard core homeless need shelter in these temperatures.

"What we call our hard core homeless come in the winter, those are the ones that don't normally come but because of the elements they've got to get out of there."

Just before Christmas a man died in this abandoned building in Albany, the coroner says cold weather likely contributed to his death

"It was somebody that use to stay here, but he got to the point he just gave up, and that's the tragedy of homelessness," said Hample

He hopes no one else dies this winter, simply lacking a warm place to stay when temperatures get this cold.

The Rescue Mission encourages people who seek shelter there to become part of their programs.

If they don't have a job, they can work for the mission or the thrift store until they get back on their feet.

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