Winter Weather Puts Increased Strain On Metro Shelters


Wednesday, March 4th 2015, 4:09 pm
By: News 9


Winter weather takes a toll on all of us, but it can be especially hard on those who live on the streets.

When cold weather strikes local shelters become packed with anyone trying to escape the cold. Volunteers worked overnight and throughout the day to bring in anyone without shelter off the streets and inside.

With overnight lows dipping below freezing, the four main Oklahoma City shelters went into overflow mode, pulling out cots and mats for anyone seeking shelter.

“When it is below freezing, the shelters will kinda take off the restrictions that they would normally have in place. So if somebody is out on the street, they can be accommodated at one of the shelters,” said Dan Straughan, Homeless Alliance Executive Director.

City Rescue housed 250 extra people Tuesday night, putting them up for the night on mats. On Wednesday, people packed the city's day shelter to escape the freezing rain and sleet outside.

“[We] try to encourage those folks to come into shelters. You can't force them, but do encourage as best we can,” said Straughan.

Staff at the shelters is already working on a contingency plan to combat the anticipated overflow again Wednesday night. If needed the city's day shelter will open to house more people.

In addition to the 250 mats put out at City Rescue, the Salvation Army housed an additional 45 people and Jesus House about 15.