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Shelters prepare overflow beds due to cold weather

File photo
File photo (WSLS)

Due to the forecasted low temperatures, City Rescue Mission in Jacksonville will increase its overnight capacity and extend its hours Tuesday and Wednesday to those in need of shelter and will remain open each day temperatures are expected to fall below 40 degrees.

“We will not turn anyone away,” said Penny Kievet, executive director of the mission “We want to make sure that those without a home have a warm shelter and a hot meal.”

Anyone seeking safe shelter may check-in to City Rescue Mission’s New Life Inn at (234 W. State Street beginning at 2:30 p.m. each day. All guests will receive a hot meal and will be offered access to showers and clean clothing.

Guests will be required to adhere to all COVID-19 safety precautions put in place as recommended by the CDC.

Flagler County’s Sheltering Tree is opening a cold weather shelter at Church on the Rock in Bunnell. It will also be open any night where the temperature is expected to dip below 40 degrees.

“We are using the main sanctuary to make sure we have enough space (for social distancing), because of COVID-19,” said church pastor James Bellino. “The Sheltering Tree runs the operation and we provide the facility.”

An interlocal agreement signed in February 2020 between Flagler County, Bunnell, Flagler Beach and Palm Coast provides $1,000 per night for up to 24 night to cover costs associated with providing the service such as space usage, utilities, security and meals among other expenses. Limited transportation is also available.

“Homelessness is a problem that traverses jurisdictional boundaries and therefore, the most effective solutions will involve intergovernmental coordination,” the agreement states.