Shelters open for those looking to get out of cold weather

Many homeless shelters over capacity

By Chris Robbins - Producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Those who don't have a place to call home are hit the hardest on chilly nights. Channel 4 stopped by a number of local shelters to see how they're helping those in need.

Practically every shelter was at capacity Sunday, and many were beyond. The shelters are even opening up their floor space to anyone who's cold and looking for a place to sleep out of the cold.

As the temperature plummeted, the crowds at the Trinity Rescue Mission surged with men, women and kids looking to get out of the cold.

"I think it's a God send," said homeless man Joseph Wood. "People opening up doors for people who don't have any place to go on a freezing night like tonight."

To hear the tales of veterans on the streets, it's easy to see how hard it is to not have a warmer place to stay on a chilly night. Most that Channel 4 spoke with reiterated how thankful they were for the shelters.

"It's a Godsend, it really is," said Kelly Murtagh. "When it's cold outside, it's a God send.

Sunday night at Trinity they were beyond capacity with 32 people sleeping on the floor, because they never turn anyone away.

"When it's so cold outside, we can't turn anybody away," said David Yates of Trinity Rescue Mission. "When somebody comes to us looking for a warm place to stay and warm meal and let them get warm night's rest, because when you start dealing with turning people away, you deal with other issues with sicknesses and things like that."

Many of the men who stay at the shelter said they're quite familiar with the different shelters and know how to find a place when it gets below 50 degrees. Shelter managers said that's when they typically start opening up the floors for overflow.

"I got to Sulzbacher or this place right here, they give me stuff to go to work and stuff like that," said Edgar Walker. "Sulzbacher, they give me blankets and pillows. Some of the guys over there are really cool."

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