CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Frigid temperatures mean more work for some people in Charlottesville, hoping to keep others safe from the cold. The wintry weather also means more need for coats, hats, and boots to help keep the homeless warm.
Below freezing temperatures made for packed houses at shelters around central Virginia. People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry (PACEM) in Charlottesville says it’s trying to make sure no one has to sleep outside in this frigid weather.
Homeless people filled the Haven Monday, trying to find shelter from 20 degree temperatures. Monday night, they crowded Spring Hill Baptist Church, the current location for PACEM’s rotating shelter.
Employees at PACEM say the shelter is taking in as many homeless as they can but PACEM easily reaches capacity of 45 when temperatures dip below freezing.
“Our numbers have been very dependent on the weather this year, whether it’s been, you know, 70 degrees one day then maybe 40 the next day but as soon as we hit this cold period of the past few days, we’ve been at max capacity or even more,” said Jayson Whitehead, PACEM program director.
PACEM wants to make sure no one gets turned away and left out in the cold. After its shelter reaches capacity, overflow can go to the Mohr Center or a warm room at the Salvation Army.
Tuesday morning, the Field School is hosting a coat giveaway at the Haven. That’s from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. if you have any extra cold weather gear you’re able to drop off.