Dozens seek refuge as frigid temperatures sweep the ArkLaTex

Shreveport shelter opens doors to homeless
Updated: Jan. 16, 2018 at 9:22 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - As temperatures continue to plummet Tuesday night, dozens of those less fortunate will stay warm with a roof over their heads thanks to the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission.

"We are already looking at the weather in the forecast, already planning how many days we're going to be in cold weather intake," said Larry Otwell, executive director of the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission. "We plan way ahead of time and we already brought more cots over here."

Otwell told KSLA News 12 normal capacity for the rescue center falls around 125 people. On Tuesday, that number jumped to 160 people.

"This weather doesn't look like it's going anywhere for another day, so we'll actually have staff members that will sleep here overnight instead of trying to get back home," said Otwell.

Due to the influx in guests, Otwell had staff members clear public spaces in the rescue mission to make room for extra cots. Still, Otwell said precautionary measures were taken for guests seeking refuge.

"One of the things we have to do is sex offender checks because we do have women and children," said Otwell.

The Rescue Mission offers programs to help those who are less fortunate get back on their feet. Otwell hopes those who planned to temporarily stay consider extending the length of their time at the Rescue Mission to reap its benefits.

"We're not about putting people right back out on the streets," said Otwell. "We hope through this process and meeting life coaches and classes, we hope they decide to stay."

Otwell said donations are always needed - especially when there is an increase in guests. He said the Rescue Mission is short on toiletries and toilet paper.

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