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Fewer Shelters Available to Women, Children

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FAYETTEVILLE — Severe weather can be harsh especially for those who don't have a warm, dry home to go to. That means it's particularly hard on homeless families.

In Cumberland County, women and children are sometimes being turned away from shelters, because there simply isn't enough space.

While many organizations in Fayetteville house the homeless, not all of them can take in families.

After leaving an abusive relationship, one 26-year-old woman found herself and her two children homeless. Fortunately, she found shelter in one of just 3 units set aside at the Salvation army for homeless families.

The Salvation Army and other homeless support organizations in the Fayetteville area have limited space for families. There are several reasons why. Tom Lloyd of the Fayetteville Salvation Army says one is that, by law, young children must be segregated from adults.

Another reason there are fewer facilities is that homeless families don't often come seeking help. Parents are afraid their children will be taken away, so they will only show up at a shelter if they are truly desperate.

The Hope Center is set up to house families. It has spaces available now, but on a cold night, the beds fill up quickly, still leaving some families looking for other options. Mary Hendrickson of the Homeless Project says people can find the questions embarrassing.

Rather than turn a family away, a shelter will often call around looking for accommodations. Shelters will sometimes take families when they are already full.

New apartments for homeless families will be built in Fayetteville by fall, but experts say, on those bitter cold and sweltering hot nights, the problem will still exist.