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Huntsville homeless shelters expect extra busy winter season during pandemic

Updated: Nov. 29, 2020 at 11:18 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - With the colder weather and the pandemic, local homeless shelters are preparing for larger crowds.

We’re told that’s because a lot of smaller shelters, like churches, are choosing not to open due to the pandemic.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if we’re a 20-25 percent increase this year.”

So will they have the space to welcome everyone?

Downtown Rescue Mission CEO Keith Overholt says they will certainly do their best.

“The lord blessed us with a really big facility and we have a gym and dining hall we could actually expand into if we had to,” Overholt said.

Overholt says last winter they housed on average about 325 people a night.

The director of the Salvation Army in Huntsville, Captain Chris Bryant says for them the pandemic means they’ll only have space for 100-150 people a night- a 100 people less than last year.

“So a lot of those folks will be looking for a place to stay,” Overholt said.

But what about social distancing? Overholt says CDC guidelines say shelters can have people sleep head to toe.

“We’re here to make sure that nobody is going to be in the cold, nobody is going to be without a place to stay. The mission is an open door mission which means we except anybody no matter what there condition may be,” Overholt said.

Now if you do choose to seek shelter you will have to wear a mask. if you don’t have one, one will be provided for you.

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