Sunday night we'll be expecting freeze warnings across the area. That’s not good news for the estimated 600 Chattanooga’s who sleep outside according to Chattanooga Community Kitchen.
As many of you know, heating stations within the city often open up when the temperature drops. All the shelters in the area work together to help those in need.
According to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, each year 4,000 Chattanooga’s experience homelessness. The Salvation Army overnight shelter typically opens when temperatures are 32 degrees or below.
Salvation Army volunteers listen to those they serve when they say they have nowhere to go.
“We have had to open before in October but this year it's been so unseasonable warm it’s been wonderful but today we did extend our hours of the day shelter,” said Kimberly George. “We had worship this morning then fed a warm meal then stayed open until folks could start getting into the normal shelters.”
With the help of a local organization they now have new cots for the shelter that will hold 50 to 80 people.
The Salvation Army is already seeing a need for clothes for the homeless population more specifically for the males.
“We haven't had the need for hats, and gloves, and scarves. I don't know about you but I had to dig my coat out of the closet we just haven't had to use them,” said Kimberly George. “So folks just haven't been thinking along those lines as far as donations. It's real important.”
According to Chattanooga Community Kitchen, over the last several years, the number of homeless families in Chattanooga has increased nearly 300%. The 2017 count found that 584 people were homeless in our area.
The shelter is in need of several items to get prepared for winter.
“As you're cleaning your closets and getting your old coats out we could certainly use them gloves, long johns, hand warmers are specifically a great item for the homeless so any type of warm items are what the salvation army needs. ,” said Kimberly George.
So far, the shelter has extended its daytime hours today. However, they have not yet announced opening through the night.