Efforts underway to get the homeless out of brutal cold
Inclement weather mode means shelters are open 24/7; simply come in if you need help
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — With nightfall comes colder temperatures that are particularly dangerous, maybe even deadly, to the homeless.
Some try to brave the cold.
For others, there are several efforts underway to help them.
One is The Salvation Army’s canteen, a portable soup kitchen that seeks out those who need a warm meal.
On Tuesday evening, it was headed to the area of Jewella Avenue and Greenwood Road in Shreveport.
Then there’s also The Salvation Army shelter in the 200 block of Stoner Avenue in Shreveport.
It was at capacity Tuesday evening and with more people expected.
Derrick Johnson , 40, of Shreveport, said he does not want to be freezing cold another night.
But he also does not want to find himself inside the confines of a homeless shelter unless he absolutely has to do so.
That’s why he endured the freezing conditions Monday night.
“I just crawled up in a little abandoned building and just tried to make it," Johnson recalled.
"And there’s so many of us out here that’s doing the same thing, just trying to find a place to, you know, lay up.”
But that’s dangerous, he agrees.
"You don’t know who come in on you. You don’t know who(s) watching you.”
Johnson did say he’d find his way to a shelter if conditions got much worse.
The Salvation Army’s shelter — now in what’s called “inclement weather mode” — expects to use every one of its 103 beds the next several nights, , Lt. Jamaal Ellis said.
The shelter also may have to pull out 12-15 cots on the men’s side and 4-6 cots on the women’s side, he added.
“We’ll let people know that we are open," Ellis said. “Even if the beds are full, we have cots and we’ll roll them out.
"And we know that the police is patrolling the streets.”
So if you are homeless and want to get indoors, he advised, just contact police and tell them you heard you can come to The Salvation Army shelter.
On a typical day, The Salvation Army may serve 200 meals.
But when it’s cold outside, you get more people coming in, increasing that meal count by 50-75 each day.
Nearby, the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission reports that it too is seeing a surge in people seeking shelter. It already is 30 percent busier than normal, officials said.
The mission has 130 beds, with as many as 50 cots also available/
And because of the current conditions, both shelters have relaxed some of their normal schedules governing when people can come in.
That means right now, it’s 24/7. Simply come in if you need help.
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