Homeless shelters prepare for freezing temps, extra people - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Homeless shelters prepare for freezing temps, extra people

Major Kelly English, Salvation Army Major Kelly English, Salvation Army
Jim Vaught, Albany EMA & 911 Deputy Director Jim Vaught, Albany EMA & 911 Deputy Director

Albany homeless shelters are gearing up for a busy night as those with nowhere to go seek refuge on one of the coldest nights we've seen in years.

The cold weather gripping much of the nation is moving into Southwest Georgia.  Lows tonight will drop well into the teens.  Those in need lined up outside the Salvation Army for the organization's dinner.  Organizers say it's part of an increased demand in people hoping to get in. 

When cold weather moves in, the bunks in the shelter become a safe haven. 

"We know that mentally that can be pretty taxing on a person when you're outside and you don't have anywhere to go," said Major Kelly English, Salvation Army. 

The Salvation Army expects to squeeze about 90 men, women and children inside Monday.  47 will have a bed, and the rest will sleep on mats.

"They do a tremendous job," said Jim Vaught, Albany EMA & 911 Deputy Director.  "They bring people in.  They've got the assets.  We've already talked this morning.  They've stood up and are ready to go with meals and extra bedding and all type of things. "

That means everyone will have a safe place to stay, but with a cost to shelters.  

"I'll tell you because of being at capacity in the evening, we do serve a meal, so we will see a higher demand on our resources there," English said. 

The Salvation Army is tweaking the Place for Hope day shelter's hours Tuesday to keep people out of the cold.

"We're gonna open up right after breakfast so that folks can kind of leave here and go right into another warm place, which is good for everybody involved because clients can engage resources a lot earlier," said English.. 

The city doesn't plan to open additional shelters at this point, but will keep an eye out for those in need. 

"We're staying in very close touch with the American Red Cross and quite often during times like this the counties will work together as a partnership so we're not duplicating efforts," Vaught said. 

English said police will be going around to be sure no one is left out.  He said The Albany Rescue Mission just around the corner is also bracing for a busy night. 

The shelter has seen an increase in coat donations, but Major English said recent items do not meet the rising need for warm clothing and other items. Here's what officials say they need:

  • Warm coats
  • Scarves
  • Long underwear
  • Caps and gloves
  • Canned foods
Visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or call (229) 435-1428 for more information on how you can get involved.


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