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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575

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Warming shelter opened

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Homeless men will have a warm place to spend the night as temperatures plummet near single digits again tonight.

The Salvation Army at 603 S. Memorial Blvd. in Martinsville, between Broad and Bridge streets, will open a shelter that can accommodate up to 20 homeless men, according to commanding officer Lt. Shauntrice Williams.

“It will be a safe, warm environment for people who don’t have a place to stay” during the record-breaking cold weather, she said.

The shelter also was open Monday night.

Citizens Against Family Violence helps homeless women and children, which is why the Salvation Army’s shelter is open only to men, Williams said.

As far as she knows, the Salvation Army’s shelter is the only place locally where men can go for refuge from the cold, she said.

Lodgers will receive a cot, blanket and pillow for their use tonight, and they will be served dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning, Williams said.

Donations of prepared food are sought, as are volunteers to help operate the shelter. Anyone who can donate food or their time can call Williams at 638-4093.

The shelter will open at 7 tonight, and lodgers probably will be allowed to stay until 9 in the morning, she said.

Lodgers will be required to show identification and fill out a form. They can talk to a Salvation Army social worker who can try to help them with any personal needs they have beyond homelessness, Williams said.

The Salvation Army is working with the American Red Cross, STEP Inc. and other organizations, as well as The Community Fellowship in Collinsville and other area churches, to set up a shelter that operates regularly whenever nighttime temperatures are forecast to drop to below 40 degrees.

Williams said efforts are underway to find a location for that shelter. The Salvation Army does not have the resources to operate that shelter alone, she said, and she does not know how soon it might be opened.

The regular shelter also will need people to help run it and food donations to be prepared and delivered, Williams said. Anyone who wants to help can call her or Pastor Michael Harrison of The Community Fellowship at 647-8231.

Also Monday, the city advised local residents to alert the city in case of power outages so Martinsville Middle School “can be opened as a warming shelter,” according to a release from the city.

According to the release, Public Safety Director Rodney Howell and Emergency Management Coordinator Bobby Phillips “have made contact with the schools and the Red Cross alerting them to be on standby.”

The National Weather Service forecast an overnight low temperature late tonight or early Wednesday morning of 4 degrees. However, winds as high as 20 mph were expected to create a “wind chill” — how the cold feels to exposed skin — as low as 9 degrees below zero.

Despite a sunny sky, today’s high temperature is forecast to be about 18 degrees with an overnight low of 11, the forecast showed.

On Wednesday, temperatures are expected to start warming, and by the week’s end they are expected to be near normal levels for this time of the year.


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