KARM Opens Doors Early Because of Cold

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Knoxville (WVLT) - With below-freezing temperatures in the forecast, more of Knoxville's homeless will be coming indoors Tuesday night.
No one will be turned away.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone has an update.

Tuesday, 252 people took shelter at KARM, but when the temperature goes below 32 degrees those numbers could go higher. KARM will put out a white flag, signaling for everyone nearby to come inside and get warm.

Curfew at Knox Area Rescue Ministries is 6:30 every night, but Tuesday when the white flag goes up because of extreme temperatures, stragglers will be allowed to come in.

"We accommodate those people we can here, and if it's somebody that can't come here, we have affiliate organizations we can send them to, we don't turn people away," Becky Duncan from KARM said.

The numbers at KARM have been up recently, and as staff members brace for a harsh winter, the appeal is out for more blankets and towels.

On any given day, there are more than 1,5000 homeless in downtown Knoxville. On average, 58 percent take shelter each night, and 87 percent eat their meals here.

Kenneth Fostering has been staying at KARM on and off for the past month.

"I have stayed outside a few nights, but last night I did, so I had been drinking and I didn't want to come here, you're not supposed to actually," Fosterling said.

Fosterling and others are here Tuesday because they agree to play by the rules and remain sober and clean.

Again, there's a strong appeal out for more blankets and towels. Everyone who comes in gets a place to sleep and a hot shower.

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