JOHNSON CITY (WJHL) – For people in need in the Tri-Cities, there are dozens of nonprofits in the region that offer meals, showers, and safe places to go during the day.
But at night, those options are much more limited.
“Unfortunately its cold out there. and they could get hurt or die. and we don’t want that,” said Haven of Mercy Office Manager Thomas Squires.
Squires is one of the only “warming stations” in the Tri-Cities.
It’s a place where people can go during the night to get out of the elements.
“As far as a warming center I’ve never turned anybody away. If they want to come in I’ll send them down to the dining room get them a cup of coffee or hot chocolate let them sit for a while,” said Squires.
But as temperatures drop, and more people need a place to keep warm, Squires worries about their resources.
“It taxes us quite a bit. Having the lights on. You know usually at night we don’t run the heat down in our dining room but because of this weather we do,” said Squires.
Squires told News Channel 11, Haven of Mercy needs monetary donations, hats, gloves, and blankets.
The Salvation Army Center of Hope is another place that offers overnight shelter.
Using a white flag, the center lets the community know they are welcome to come inside and get warm.
“A lot of folks that come in under white flag are just looking for that one night. They don’t want to come into the shelter they don’t want to be here they just want to getting out of the cold so they don’t freeze to death,” said Center of Hope Director Scott Blevins.
Blevins said mild December temperatures have decreased the number of times they’ve used the white flag this season. But, Blevins told News Channel 11, when they have used it, a lot of people come inside to get warm.
However, both Blevins and Squires said, they know it’s only a matter of time before the temperatures drop even more…leaving more people in need of a warm place to stay.
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