Homeless shelters prepare for freezing weather

Author: Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 03 2014 10:17:03 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 04 2014 07:45:14 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

With area homeless shelters at capacity during Friday's light freeze, news that the weather will be even colder early next week has local authorities scrambling to be prepared for the brutal cold weather.

Trinity Rescue Mission, like many shelters, opens to anyone in need when the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Typically people can only stay five nights in a row at Trinity, but cold nights like Friday are considered free nights where anyone can stay.

"It's really treacherous, especially if you're laying out on street. Some people they've got pride and ego and they don't want to come out in this. But common sense, go inside, get yourself warm, get something to eat and shower, people that care about you," said Edgar Walker.

By Tuesday, overnight temperatures are expected to drop into the teens. Rico James used to be homeless.  Now he comes by Trinity to donate because he knows how important the shelters are.

"It's a great help; and City Rescue and Sulzbacher, it's a great help," said James.

On cold nights, nights are beds are first-come first-serve. After those are full they'll put mats out and fill up every available space they have.