Region 8 shelter working to add more beds during cold weather

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The last few nights in Region 8 have been a little cooler.  For many it means turning up the heat, but what about those who don't have a place to stay, much less a heater.  It's always hard to turn someone away who you know really needs help.  Last winter that's exactly what folks at the Salvation Army had to do and they don't want to do the same this winter.

"There's a sense of desperation," said Salvation Army Captain Mark Boatman.

The beds at the emergency shelter inside the Salvation Army are constantly full.

"We're usually at capacity the entire winter season," said Boatman.

Captain Boatman said knowing they were turning people away who would likely be forced to stay out in the cold got him to thinking.

"We're looking at turning our dining room into a one night emergency stay during really cold weather," said Boatman.

They currently have room for 22 people in the shelter.  They can take in 14 men, one family and four women.

"It will not be more of a residential sheltering.  It will just be that night and then they'll have to pack up and go and if it's cold again the next night the cold shelter will be open," said Boatman.

To make it happen, they need help from the community.

"One aspect that we really need help with is cots," said Boatman.

Boatman said one cot runs around $60 and they would like to purchase between ten and twelve cots.

"We do have those in our community who are homeless pretty much all the time.  We do have a group of people who are homeless because of different situations," said Boatman.

Programs like the thrift store and the kettle program that kicks off next month do help provide funding for projects throughout the year.  That funding is often not enough to accomplish everything they would like to do.

If you would like to help out with funding the cots or with the kettle program you can contact the Salvation Army at 870-932-3785.

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