JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Another night of freezing temperatures had the staff at the City Rescue Mission making room for an extra 100 people Tuesday night to help keep Jacksonville's homeless off the streets and out of the brutal weather.
Ian Ruben took advantage of the extra help. Ruben was in one of the towers in the World Trade Center on 9-11. He lost his fiancé that day and eventually his plumbing job. He also suffers from PTSD.
Ruben has been homeless for a few years now and said City Rescue Mission is a safe haven.
"This place is terrific. You can come in here, you can get a good night's sleep, you can put food in your belly," Ruben said. "They welcome you with open arms and the staff is phenomenal here and I urge anybody that knows someone outside to direct them here."
Staff members said the 100 extra beds will likely be taken up by 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. On a normal, warm night the mission typically accommodates 130 people, but the need grows exponentially as the weather gets worse.
"There's definitely a need and what we're seeing primarily is that people are coming in a different times of night simply because they need somewhere to go. It's getting late and the later it gets, the colder it gets, and they may have thought they could deal with the weather," said City Rescue Mission staff member Jaime Davis. "There's no way anyone could deal with the weather in these type of conditions."
City Rescue Mission plans to offer the extra 100 beds as long as this cold weather sticks around. The Mission does not turn anyone away, regardless of when they show up. If they run out of actual beds, the Mission will give people a mattress, a pillow and some blankets.
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