DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Winter weather can be dangerous, and even deadly, for people who are homeless.
The Durham Rescue Mission was in what is called “Operation Rescue Warm Shelter” Friday night.
Rob Tart, CEO of the organization, said the mission has been operating the cold weather shelter most nights for the past three weeks.
“Every time the weather comes in really, really cold we turn this on, but particularly when precipitation comes in like this it gets really dangerous on the homeless out there,” Tart said.
Tart said this winter’s been busier than past years. When rain or snow is expected teams go out with flyers to let people know about the emergency weather shelter, which provides meals and a place to sleep for the night.
Chris Paschal said he’s stayed at the warming shelter about 10 times, including past winters.
“It’s a good place to come to, they have food and shelter, and it gets cold out, it’s good people,” Paschal said.
Tart said the biggest challenge is keeping people coming in for one night separate from those who live at the shelter. He said about 30 people slept at the rescue mission during a warm shelter night after last weekend’s storm.
“Here at the Rescue Mission in Durham we always have one more bed,” Tart said. “We’ve got about 100 of these mats we can keep pulling them out, keep pulling them out.”
Tart said COVID-19 has been a challenge due to the rescue mission being a congregate setting, but it hasn’t limited the capacity of how many are allowed to stay at the shelter on a cold night.