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Augusta's homeless seek refuge from cold, pack shelters

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Seeking refuge from bitterly cold temperatures, homeless people packed overnight shelters that expanded sleeping capacity for emergency conditions.

Wanda Rewis and her children McKenna Rewis (left), 7, and Martha Williams, 10, pass the time reading after seeking shelter from the cold at the Salvation Army of Augusta. Tuesday's low was 12 degrees.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Wanda Rewis and her children McKenna Rewis (left), 7, and Martha Williams, 10, pass the time reading after seeking shelter from the cold at the Salvation Army of Augusta. Tuesday's low was 12 degrees.

The Salvation Army of Augusta’s Center of Hope housed 127 homeless people Monday night, said Development Director John Sebby. Once beds were full, 27 sleeping mats were laid out to accommodate more.

“This is pretty desperate weather,” Sebby said, adding that he wasn’t aware the shelter turned away any people seeking a warm place to sleep. “They all got in somewhere.”

After breakfast, the Center of Hope on Greene Street took men to day shelters and community centers to stay out of Tuesday’s freezing temperatures. Women and children were allowed to stay inside the center all day, a departure from its normal policy.

Garden City Rescue Mission also had a busy night but did not reach its 75-person emergency capacity. Forty-three men slept at the shelter, said Executive Director Keith Pope.

The rescue mission typically releases men back onto the streets at 7 a.m. but stayed open all day Tuesday, Pope said.

It also allowed men who had been drinking alcohol, which is not permitted at the shelter on most nights, to sleep on mats in the building’s lobby.

“It’s better than being outside,” Pope said.

Augusta Rescue Mission housed eight men overnight Monday, about an average night for the shelter, said front desk clerk Lonnie Ward.

The shelters planned to continue operating on an emergency weather plan through Wednesday, making sure no one sleeps outside.

The Center of Hope lifted its limit on the number of stays per month, and women and children were permitted to stay inside.

HOW TO HELP

The Salvation Army of Augusta is asking for monetary contributions and other donations to help shelter the homeless during the cold weather. Donations can be dropped off at the Center of Hope, 1384 Greene St., between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The following items are needed:

  • Towels
  • Twin sheets
  • Blankets
  • Socks (children and adult)
  • Undergarments
  • Diapers
  • Gloves, scarves and hats
  • Coats
  • Canned goods
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Riverman1
94467
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Riverman1 01/07/14 - 07:55 pm
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Absolutely!

Absolutely! This is a life and death matter as if an earthquake or hurricane has struck. We should all work to get these people shelter.

Truth Matters
8105
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Truth Matters 01/08/14 - 06:16 am
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RM... Thumbs up.

RM...
Thumbs up.

soapy_725
44164
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soapy_725 01/08/14 - 09:24 am
0
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To bad the Kroc Center does not involve the needy. Sad. Sad.
Unpublished

To bad the Kroc Center does not involve the needy. Sad. Sad.

soapy_725
44164
Points
soapy_725 01/08/14 - 09:25 am
0
0
The Kroc Legacy does not embrace "doing the most good"
Unpublished

The Kroc Legacy does not embrace "doing the most good"

soapy_725
44164
Points
soapy_725 01/08/14 - 09:26 am
1
0
The Center for Hope represents the true mission of The SA...
Unpublished

The Center for Hope represents the true mission of The SA...

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