RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh’s newest drop-in shelter is opening its doors for the first time on Wednesday night on Cabarrus Street.
“This time of year it’s vital to the community because we have folks that are outside that don’t have the ability to get into shelters because the shelters are all at capacity,” Pastor Vance Haywood, with Saint John’s Metropolitan Church, who is helping to run the shelter, said.
The shelter can sleep around 200 people, with around 150 beds for men and 50 for women. Cots can be added on white flag nights when temperatures drop to below freezing. It’ll operate from 7 p.m. until 8 a.m. daily and it’s what organizers call a low-barrier shelter, meaning someone coming to sleep doesn’t need to bring anything with them – even identification. There is security at the shelter with on-site workers and 24/7 cameras.
It all comes with a big price tag, though.
“This is around six hundred thousand dollars in terms of a full budget to do this for this winter season,” Lorena McDowell, the Housing Director with Wake County, said.
They say it’s money well spent to get people in a warm building overnight.
“I firmly believe that if we don’t intervene and find a way to have a space for folks to be warm, on any given night, it could drop cold enough for someone to pass away and one person, even one, is worth far more than that $600,000 ticket that we’re paying,” McDowell said.
“We talk to people all the time in the work that we do, and aside from the food, the bed, the warm place to be, the number one thing that makes a difference in their lives is that we were simply here and showed up,” Haywood added.
The shelter will be open at the Cabarrus Street location until at least April. County representatives say in the meantime, they’re looking for a more permanent location to designate as a drop-in shelter after that.