Area Homeless Shelters Getting Ready for Cold Temperatures

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(WVLT) - Freezing temperatures is a signal to many of Knoxville's homeless that it's time to head indoors for the night.

But, the extreme summer heat taxed the sources meant to help the homeless.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman went to find out if area shelters are ready for the cold temps.

Organizations like Knox Area Rescue Ministries and Volunteer Ministries say they are ready to go.

But if we experience an extreme winter, that may change fast.

"The challenges of winter are going to mean higher utilities, more folks that we're dealing with, and those just add to the expenses," said Dr. Bruce Spangler, Chief Operation Officer for Volunteer Ministry.

As expenses increase, so does the number of those needing shelter.

"There is always need. There is always need in serving our homeless neighbors. The needs are constant," said Dr. Spangler.

In a given month, there are 1,600 homeless in our area.

And Tuesday night's threat of freezing weather means everyone one of them is trying to escape the cold.

"This time of year, cold weather, it's no place to be, definitely not," said Marcus Ramseur.

Ramseur knows that all too well... he used to be homeless.

"It gets very cold, and you don't know if you're going to make it to the next morning, sometimes," said Ramseur.

A worry of the past for Marcus, because he now has a place of his own.

"Not to have to battle that battle no more. I'm off the streets. I don't have to fight the cold. I can get some things accomplished instead of walking these streets all the time," he said.

But for those who still walk the streets and for those who offer support.

"We're always in need," said Mychal Spence, with Knox Area Rescue Ministries.

And after the summer's extreme heat and drain on resources, how are supplies holding up as the cold weather season moves in?

"We have enough to maintain, but if it drops down real cold, then we have a real push of a lot of people, then it would definitely put us in a critical need especially for blankets," said Spence.

And meeting that need is the ultimate challenge.

"Just to get them out of the cold means that they will live another day," said Dr. Spangler.

The Highways and Byways Ministry reports their supplies are already awfully thin.

You can help by donating to any Knoxville's many organizations that help the needy.

For details on how to contact them, click on the Hot Key, by clicking the link below.