Emergency weather shelters keeping homeless warm

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(WSPA) – The drop in temperatures is keeping Upstate non-profits busy. Emergency shelters have been opened for people with no other way of escaping the cold, because officials say it can be a matter of life or death.

The mats are ready for those seeking solace from the bitter cold at Miracle Hill Rescue Mission in Spartanburg.

โ€œOver the years you get to know certain people,โ€ said Director Calvin Vinson. โ€œMany of the people who find themselves homeless, often times it’s through no fault of their own.โ€

He said 33 people spent Sunday night in its cold weather shelter, and 30 the night before.

“I think that as people get acclimated to warmer weather, now that itโ€™s cold it feels even colder,โ€ he said.

He expects even more people as the low temperatures linger into the week.

โ€œWe don’t want someone to freeze to death because they haven’t gotten other issues under control,โ€ said Vinson.

In Greenville, a white flag flies in the cold air above the Salvation Army’s shelter.

โ€œBy weather predictions, we fly the flag to say come on in,โ€ said Major Pete Costas.

Major Pete Costas said 80 people have used their cold weather shelter since Friday night.

โ€œWe’ll have guys come in and say my friend’s not here, I’ll go back and get him. Will you hold my bed,โ€ recalled Major Costas.

He said donations like the ones churches made over the weekend help those who need it most. He and Vinson said the milder temperatures have helped keep supplies from depleting at a faster rate. Now shelters have to use those up again since this cold is over a period of days.

โ€œBlankets, sleeping bags, all of those things are necessary,โ€ said Major Costas.

The plummeting temperatures have the Salvation Army in Spartanburg putting out a call for new heaters, gloves, hats, and scarves.

It’s the kind of giving Vinson says can be lifesaving.

โ€œWe want to treat our fellow human beings with dignity,โ€ he said.

Blankets are what Miracle Hill needs most. You can make donations during business hours here at Miracle Hill and at the Salvation Army. Officials say monetary donations are also very helpful.

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