Program Offers Warmth For Homeless
Posted November 19, 2005 10:46 a.m. EST
WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — On any given night, an estimated 1,100 people live on the streets of Wake County. For many of them, bitterly cold nights can be dangerous. But, there is hope.
In Wake County, when the temperature dips to freezing or below, more homeless people can find shelter in several facilities that are part of a White Flag Program.
On the nights of low temperatures, organizers of five shelters display a white flag to welcome men seeking relief from the cold. Three additional centers provide shelter for women and children.
One of the program's members, the South Wilmington Street Center, can normally accommodate up to 234 men.
But Keith Randleman, a team leader at the South Wilmington Street Center, said, "With the addition of the resource room, we can go up to 100 additional guests in the facility."
He said when the temperatures dipped low last year, the shelter helped an additional 70 to 80 men.
Men normally must show up at the center by 8 p.m. to be counted. But on nights when the white flag is displayed, their check-in is whenever they get there.
"I think it's a relief more than anything else that there is a place to go," Randleman said. "They're not standing out in the cold. They're safe and warm."
The shelter at the Raleigh Rescue Mission serves women and children and can accommodate up to 16 people. When the temperature drops, the count goes up, said Debbie Brown, of the Raleigh Rescue Mission.
"We try to make them comfortable with lots of blankets and that kind of thing," Brown said.