DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — With temperatures dropping below freezing Friday night, shelters are warning the homeless it’s too dangerous to sleep outside.
The Durham Rescue Mission is preparing to bring more people in out of the freezing cold.
Friday evening, beds were ready and toiletries were out for the homeless needing a place to sleep and stay warm.
“I didn’t see this forecast coming ,and when I realized it of course I immediately sent out an email to all the staff saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go into our warm shelter, rescue warm shelter,’” said Rob Tart, the chief operating officer at the Durham Rescue Mission.
He says that means sending staff out into the community with snacks and letting homeless people know they don’t have to sleep out in the cold at night.
“A lot in the homeless community they don’t keep up with the weather so they get caught a little flat-footed so we try to warn them,” said Tart.
That warning is on a flyer. It says, “The National Weather Service has issued a warning for dangerous, frigid weather.”
“If there wasn’t a place for some people to go there will be people that would be frostbit,” said Tart. “There would be people out there who would really, really be sick, some might even pass.”
It’s the first warm shelter operation this season, and the Durham Rescue Mission is almost at capacity.
Friday evening, there were only five permanent beds left, which is why the staff put out mattresses. The shelter has 70 extra mattresses available for what Tart says could be deadly weather.
“When it gets hot you can deal with that, but when it gets cold you can’t,” he said.