As temps drop, shelters wave white flag for homeless

Friday, December 9, 2016
White flag out for the homeless
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Shelters are waving the white flag as temperatures drop to bitterly cold levels.

Bitter cold temperatures during the next few nights mean the white flag is up for people who usually sleep outside in the Triangle.

When the white flag is up that means shelters will make room with extra mats and cots for anyone who needs to come in from the cold.

Shelter directors say below freezing temperature have proven to be deadly in the past.

The Durham Rescue Mission sent three teams of men to look for homeless people living in the woods. They canvassed abandoned buildings, they looked under bridges and even inside old vehicles. Last winter, they said three people froze to death, and they want to make sure this never happens in this community again.

The teams were armed with hot coffee and pastries to hand out. They also offered transportation to the Durham Rescue Mission. Its doors will remain open for anyone who needs a warm place to stay. Hot soup will be available around the clock until Operation RESCUE: Warm Shelter ends.

In Raleigh, the Salvation Army on Capital Boulevard posted its white flag out front signaling people to come inside.

Hot soup will be available around the clock until Operation RESCUE: Warm Shelter ends.

Shauna Ross and her two girls are grateful.

"Right now, I just have nowhere else to go," Ross said.

She said she's recently fallen on hard times and could no longer stay with family.

So on nights as cold as these, she found herself looking for shelter for the first time. Ross said she's grateful for a place as comfortable as the Salvation Army, especially since one of her girls suffers from a heart condition.

"She was born with what they call blue baby syndrome," Ross said.

The Salvation Army is also giving anyone who walks through its door what it calls "white flag bags."

These are bags full of much-needed toiletry items for anyone coming in from the cold.

Since this won't be the only cold night, the Salvation Army shelter expects the crowd to only get bigger and to fill its 93 beds and then some.

It needs donations of laundry detergent, blankets, body wash, deodorant, wash cloths, towels, diapers and baby wipes.

The Salvation Army won't be turning anyone away on these below freezing nights so they have extra mats and cots in addition to their beds.

Healing Transitions on Goode Street in Raleigh is also ready to make space. They have 189 beds and have more mats on hand to welcome in more people.

"We will put mats out, we will accommodate anyone because that is dangerous weather," said Amanda Blue, Director of Recovery Support Services at Healing Transitions. "People can and do freeze to death outside."

Jeremy Dickenson is one of their residents planning to stay at Healing Transitions on the cold nights and to turn his life around.

"They saved my life," Dickenson said.



For Men:

South Wilmington Street Center

1420 S. Wilmington Street

(919) 857-9428

Check in is 8 p.m.

Healing Transitions for Men

Pickup will be at the Greenway entrance before South Wilmington Street Center at 4 p.m.

Women with Children:

The Salvation Army

1863 Capital Boulevard

(919) 834-6733 (business hours)

(919) 390-6494 (after business hours)

Check-in is after 4 p.m.

Raleigh Rescue Mission

314 E. Hargett Street

(919) 828-9014 ext. 134 or 119

Line up at 3:30 p.m.

Check-in is at 4 p.m.

Single Women Without Children

Raleigh Rescue Mission

314 E. Hargett Street

(919) 828-9014

Line up at 3:30 p.m.

Check-in is from 4 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.

Healing Transitions for Women

(919) 865-2558

Meet at the Raleigh Rescue Mission no later than 6:15 p.m.

The Helen Wright Center for Women

401 West Cabarrus Street

(919) 833-1748

Check-in from 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. (only when Raleigh Rescue Mission and Healing Transitions for Women is full)

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