More Homeless Seek Shelter in Cold Weather

Temperatures are expected to dip into the twenties again Friday night and next week Atlanta could reach near record lows. Those chilly temperatures have more turning to area homeless shelters.

Janay Boyer with the Atlanta Mission says it’s already seeing an increase in those needing emergency shelter, especially at the Shepherd’s Inn in downtown Atlanta. She says that number could grow in the next few days.

“On a night like tonight we are going to put a cot in every spot that is available for a cot to be put, and where we have one, because we’re going to see  at least a 50 percent increase in the amount of people that are going to be sleeping there tonight, tomorrow night. We’re looking at 12 degrees on Sunday night.”

Boyer says that’s why the organization is need of more cots. The cold weather also concerns the City of Refuge. The nonprofit organization provides shelter for 285 women and children and is already at capacity. But City of Refuge Executive Director Bruce Deel says starting Saturday it will set up an additional 50 beds.

“None of the people in our city need to be on the streets in this kind of weather, particularly those who have children, so we’re very concerned about that and are taking whatever measures we can to help facilitate somewhere they can be warm.”

The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless is also gearing up to assist in the chilly weather.

Anita Beaty is executive director of the task force. She says her organization’s Peachtree-Pine facility could reach capacity but it does not plan to turn anyone away.

“In spite of the fact that legally we have a 1,000 person limit in our facility, if people need to come inside and their lives are in danger, we’re not going to keep someone outside because of any kind of constrain on us.”

Beaty also says the organization is need of more blankets, hats and coats to give to those who refuse to seek shelter.