Shelter, Warming Centers Available During Cold Spell (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 7:25 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- It might be difficult to imagine, but there are scores of people in Fort Wayne who don't have a safe place to call home.

For so many people in our community, their reality is that they don't have a roof over their heads at night.

And with the snow and temperatures we're expecting, Fort Wayne's homeless population will be particularly vulnerable this weekend and early next week.

So the Rescue Mission and Charis House are relaxing their admissions rules to allow as many people to sleep in their facilities as possible.

Each client will be evaluated for their immediate needs and the mission will give out its extra hats, gloves, scarves, clothing and coats to people who need them to stay warm.

But people have to want the help first.

“We're trusting that they will make a good decision by at least allowing somebody to give them a little bit of help. And then we capitalize on their willingness to find the help, and then we just provide more resources to them as they allow us to help them. But at the end of the day, they have to make the choice,” says the Rev. Donovan Coley of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.

Beginning at noon on Sunday, the city will open shelters at the Salvation Army on North Clinton and the public safety academy at the old Southtown Mall.

The city will also open four warming stations on Monday.

The sites will be the Community Center on Main from eight to eight, and the Jennings Center on McCulloch, the Weisser Center on Eckart and Cooper Center on Clinton all from noon to eight.

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