Birmingham shelters prepared for freezing temperatures

Many shelters are gearing up for those chilly days and nights ahead.

Places like the Salvation Army and The Firehouse Shelter are ready to take in more people. The Firehouse Shelter is following its inclement weather procedure and has extra mattresses ready for those looking to get out of the cold.

"The people have to go somewhere." The Firehouse Shelter in downtown Birmingham, is prepared to house 50 to 75 more people with temperatures expected to dip down into the 20's at night.

Street Outreach Case Manager, Nicole Arlain says, "Some of them have 3 or 4 coats, but if you're talking 3or 4 coats that are old, that they've been wearing for the last while, it's not sufficient because it's too thin or old."

Arlain says the shelter has been welcoming in more people within the last year because of the economy. and when the weather gets colder - they seek out those who have no where to go.

"We have the only street outreach program in Birmingham that actually goes out and we find whoever has decided not to go into a shelter. we try to accommodate them with whatever they need, a coat, blankets, sleeping bags, socks."

Singleton Lewis III, who is staying at the shelter, says, "I'm very thankful they have a place like this here because when it's really cold, people don't have to worry about being outside and freezing."

First Light has also taken out extra mats for women and children. Mayor William Bell says people should avoid being out overnight if possible and advises checking on elderly residents who might live alone.

Mayor Bell says, "Please check on elderly family members to make sure they're in a warm place. a lot of time elderly citizens try to save by not turning the heat on in their home. we don't advise that."

Arlain says the shelter always needs more donations, like winter coats, scarves, blankets, sheets and food. They can be dropped off at 1501 Third Avenue North at anytime.

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