Local homeless shelters prepare for cold weather

News

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) With the cold weather this week local homeless shelters are preparing to help.

Two of the main shelters in Shreveport have activated their ‘inclement weather mode’ to get ready for the extra people who will be coming in.

The Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission changed their normal intake hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 24-hours to allow anyone seeking shelter to come in at any time.

“We get a lot more people who live on the streets in the downtown area and camps,” said Larry Otwell, Rescue Mission executive director.

On an average night the Rescue Mission offers 130 beds but because of the cold they’re bringing out dozens of cots for people to have somewhere to sleep. They’re also ramping up their clothing and toiletry supplies.

“A lot of people think they can stay out in it, but after it gets so cold your body temperature comes down. We have had people in the past that have died,” Otwell said.

The Salvation Army is also rolling out additional cots. The organization normally houses more than 100 people on average but said dozens more will come in to escape the cold.

“I tell our staff as much floor space as we have without being in trouble with Fire Marshall we’ll put those beds out to make sure people have somewhere to come,” said Lt. Jamal Ellis, Salvation Army NWLA.

The Salvation Army cooked dinner for people staying at the shelter and will take meals out to those still outside in the cold through their mobile feeding unit.

One woman said she came in to the shelter with nothing and now has everything thanks to them.

“If it wasn’t for the Salvation Army I don’t know where I would be at,” she said.

While serving meals, they even had a special serving line for homeless veterans staying at the shelter.

“It’s tremendously important people know they have a safe place to go to. The Salvation Army is a trusted name in the community and folks know they can come to us when they have a need,” Lt. Ellis said.

It’s the time of year the Rescue Mission and Salvation Army need of donations. You can donate food items for Thanksgiving and even send them items through Amazon.

The Rescue Mission offers a list of what they need on their website along with the Salvation Army’s website.

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