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Shelters seeing slight increase as temperatures go down

POSTED: February 11, 2014 4:36 p.m.

When snow and ice are in the forecast, more people need the services of the Good News at Noon shelter.

“I went by (Tuesday) around midnight, and yeah, there were the last-second guys and women coming in off the street,” said the Rev. Fletcher Law, who handles public relations for the organization.

Usually, the shelter will house 25 to 30 on a typical night, but when weather gets extreme, whether too hot or too cold, it could house as many as 45 people.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” Law said. “In inclement weather, we will not turn anybody away.”

While at capacity, Gainesville City Baptist Rescue Mission at 669 Main St. SW will also accept people to stay in its dining area.

Family Promise of Hall County hasn’t seen an influx of people calling specifically because of the Tuesday and today’s winter weather, though the past few days have been busier.

“In the past week, we have (had more calls),” Director Lindsey McCamy said. “But (Tuesday), no. I had to move families to a hotel, and when I called (the hotels) they were all getting full.”

She added many church groups or other organizations will help find hotel rooms for people if necessary.

It was the same story at My Sister’s Place.

“It’s not that we’re seeing more phone calls, it’s that we’re seeing more desperate phone calls,” Managing Director Brandee Thomas said. “It’s always heartbreaking to say ‘I’m sorry, we don’t have a placement available for you at this moment.’”

Law said the Good News at Noon food service may or may not see more people coming in because of the weather, but he added any non-perishable items that don’t need to be cooked would be useful at this time, particularly if the predicted ice and snowfall for today occurs.

“That’s the one thing, if we don’t have electricity we can’t make food,” he said. “We need snack food items, peanut butter, crackers ... canned spaghetti, that kind of thing.”

He added gloves and hats usually “go quickly” at the shelter in this kind of weather, as well. 

“It’s hard to predict,” Law said. “We’ve got to get ready, but we’re pretty flexible.”



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