Homeless offered shelter across area

Reggie Johnson (right) waits to check in for the night at Garden City Rescue Mission. The facility will lay out mats if all the beds are filled up.

It's finally feeling like winter. For some, that means cranking up the heat at home and pulling cozy jackets from the closet. For others, such as Augusta's homeless, it can mean nights in the cold.

There are organizations working to make sure no one is left out as winter draws near. Here is a list of resources for the homeless, where people can find refuge and a hot meal.

GARDEN CITY RESCUE MISSION: 828 Fenwick St.; (706) 724-6960;
gardencityrescuemission.com

Garden City Rescue Mission is a Christian ministry and overnight shelter for homeless men, women and children ages 6 and under. There are 54 beds available for men and 25 beds for women and children. When the weather gets below 35 degrees, Director Lavond Reynolds said, the shelter can house more people by laying down mats.

Rules: No registered sex offenders, no drinking, no drugs. Must have an ID to sign in. Evening check-in is at 3:30 p.m.; closes at 6 p.m.

How you can help: Reynolds said the shelter's biggest need is financial support. It costs $18,000 a month to run the program, and donations help keep the shelter functioning. It also needs breakfast foods, volunteers, detergent, soap, diapers, baby food, juices and landlords who have quality, low-income housing for the reformed homeless.

MERCY MINISTRIES: 1739 Fenwick St.; (706) 737-0242; www.augustahomeless.org

Mercy Ministries is a day shelter that provides hot meals and support to find employment for the homeless, said Assistant Director Susan Rabon. The shelter is open from 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and provides recovery meetings and Bible studies until 8 p.m.

Rules: No drugs, drinking or fighting.

How you can help: Monetary donations, men's clothing, washing powder, toiletry products and coffee.

"If you think about what you use to survive a cold morning -- a coat and a cup of coffee -- that's what we try to do," Rabon said.

SALVATION ARMY AUGUSTA: 1384 Greene St.; (706) 826-7933

The Salvation Army in Augusta can house 47 men and 38 women and children in its overnight shelter. Public Relations Coordinator Anthony Esposito said that when the weather dips to 30 degrees, the shelter will not turn anybody away.

"We put them in hallways, we put them in every square inch that we can," Esposito said.

Shelter workers hand out entry numbers at 5 p.m. Check-in is between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The morning wake-up call is at 5:30 a.m., and visitors must be off the property by 7 a.m.

Men can receive eight free nights at the shelter each month, and each additional stay costs $5. There is no time limit or cost for women and children.

"(Shelter workers) don't do that to be mean; they do that to encourage the men to go out and find work during the day," Esposito said.

Rules: Visitors must submit to a breathalyzer test and a bag search and must walk through a metal detector. An ID or shelter clearance from the sheriff's office is required.

How you can help: Esposito said donations of soap, deodorant, shampoo, towels, linens and pillows are always needed.

SALVATION ARMY AIKEN: 604 Park Ave. Aiken; (803) 641-4149

The Salvation Army in Aiken is a 24-hour shelter open seven days a week. It also has a soup kitchen from noon until 1 p.m. daily.

The shelter has 32 beds, and visitors can stay for up to 10 days every three months.

Rules: No alcohol or drugs. A photo ID and a shelter clearance from Aiken Public Safety is required.

How you can help: Capt. Angie Repass said the shelter needs toiletries and food items.

AUGUSTA RESCUE MISSION: 526 Walker St.; (706) 722-2058; augustarescuemission.org

Augusta Rescue Mission is an overnight shelter, soup kitchen and Christian based life-skills resource for homeless men. The shelter has 42 beds, but Executive Director Rusty Marsh said a new wing with 20 additional beds will open this month.

Check-in is at 3:30 p.m.

Rules : Admittance in the program requires alcohol and drug testing.

How you can help: Marsh said the shelter is in need of men's socks, T-shirts, underclothes and furniture and appliances for transitional housing.

MOUNT SALEM OUTREACH MISSION: 2121 Augusta Road, Gloverville; (803) 593-2276

Mount Salem is an overnight shelter for men who are homeless, on parole or recently out of prison. There are 12 beds, and it averages nine full beds each night, said the Rev. Rob Lane, its founder and director. Check-in is at 6 p.m., and checkout is at 6:30 a.m. There is no limit on stays.

"They can stay here every night, every week of every month," Lane said.

Rules: There are no cell phones or listening devices allowed. Other rules fall under respecting the mission, Lane said.

"As long as you go by our principles, you can stay every night," Lane said.

How you can help: Mount Salem has a program called Pledge Partners, in which donors contribute $5 a month. He said his group is in need of partners.