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Fayetteville homeless shelter opens just in time to help on bitter cold nights

Posted March 16

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— As temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s overnight and into Friday, those who are experiencing homelessness are scrambling trying to find a warm place to stay.

The Lodge, a homeless shelter for men in Fayetteville, just opened three days ago, but its operators say it is already making a difference.

The shelter at the corner of Hillsboro and Chance streets provides a place to sleep for 40 men – up to 80 will be accommodated on bitterly cold nights – as well as other services. So far, 25 men have stayed the night.

"So, after the first night, it was so cold and it was wet, and some of the guys said, 'I haven't slept in a bed in so long and haven't taken a hot shower and haven't had laundry done,'" said Sue Byrd, executive director of Operation Inasmuch, the nonprofit that runs the shelter.

The Lodge is not a white flag shelter. The flag flying on the outside is the signal that Operation Inasmuch has a plan for those who want to get out of bitter temperatures.

"We still have out program in place where the homeless go and they meet at a certain location," Byrd said. "We have churches who provide the transportation to take them out to True Vine Ministries which host them on these white flag nights."

Joe Lobban, the shelter manager, said right now the focus is on those who signed up for a program designed to start their lives over.

"Three men have now found full-time employment," he said. "We've got 17 men who are searching for full-time employment and another seven men, just today, receiving job interviews."

The program is already working, and Byrd said that is what makes the beds special.

"We will not cheapen the bed in order to fill this place. Because if you're here, that means you're serious. That means that you want a life that's different from living in the streets, from living in abandoned houses," Byrd said.

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