Homeless having trouble finding shelter in cold - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Homeless having trouble finding shelter in cold

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

As the temperature drops, the city's shelters fill up. Right now many of the city's homeless are having trouble finding help.

One of the biggest needs right now is a warm place to sleep at night, said Donald Baer, Chattanooga Rescue Mission.

"The temperatures are definitely going down, and that means more people with more needs," he said.

Baer said the emergency shelter has been full every night. With 60 beds and extra space in the chapel, they still have to turn people away. The homeless go somewhere else.

"That somewhere else is a tent or a place that's not meant for human habitation in the winter."

Other shelters in the area, like the Salvation Army's and Union Gospel Mission have closed in recent years.

"That leaves us pretty much the main player right now," Baer said.

Community Kitchen's emergency shelter is no longer open at night.

"We're having great difficulty with that right now," said Charlie Hughes, executive director. "We just don't have the staff to do that."

Chattanooga's Homeless Coalition helped out last year. The agency provided staff and services for the kitchen's shelter, so the doors could stay open through the night. Hughes said the coalition didn't have the money to do it again this year.

"It's just a matter again of the people and the money."

Several people who received help from Community Kitchen are now turning to the Rescue Mission.

Baer hopes to renovate the facility's third floor, which would double or triple the bed capacity. The problem is they're strapped for cash, and the beds aren't here now.

"The difficult thing is it doesn't help today," he said. "It doesn't help the person that's coming in that needs the help now."

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