Rescue Missions search for homeless, before the storm

A Raleigh homeless man froze to death man earlier this month, advocates trying to stop it from happening again.

February 24, 2010 3:14:42 PM PST
A homeless Raleigh man froze to death a couple of weeks ago and now advocates are doing all they can to keep it from happening again. "The rain, when it gets your clothes, it goes right through, right down to the bone, "Durham Rescue Mission Volunteer Ernie Mills said. " Especially if you think of somebody getting wet today, how are they going to get dry?"

When cold temperatures are in the forecast Durham Rescue Mission volunteers go out searching for the homeless and it never gets old for the men at the rescue mission.

Any time the weather gets dangerous volunteers pack their vans with pastry and hot chocolate and look for the homeless. Volunteers say rain is even a big concern for the homeless.

"They don't have a change of clothing and so they're going to be wet all day today and tonight and that's when the chill bites them all the way to the bone," Mills said.

Police say weather is what killed a homeless man in Raleigh earlier this month, which makes the mission's efforts all the more critical.

"It could probably have been avoided and that's what we have a desire not to allow to happen," Durham Rescue Mission Volunteer Walter Cole said. "That's why we are willing to go out, especially when we realize and understand that it's going to be cold."

Cole and many of the other mission residents know where to find the people they're looking for, because they've been there.

"I had just completed some 22 and a half years in prison and I had been out in society for another eight and a half years, just wandering around using drugs and alcohol," Cole said.

"It's dangerous sleeping up under bridges, underpass, and out in the woods and take it from experience, I've been there," Durham Rescue Mission Resident William Tabron said.

Cole and others got help and that's why they're inviting others to do the same by encouraging them to stay at the mission for the night and have dinner and breakfast.

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