Richmond-area shelters may have room but some are refusing to come indoors
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -
As the temperature drops, the demand for shelter in Richmond is increasing. According to several homeless outreach groups there is help for folks, even those who may not want it.
Crystal Rivera is a homeless outreach coordinator with The Daily Planet. She says, some people are refusing to leave their makeshift homes and are being taken into custody so they don't freeze to death.
"Last night, we made a decision to take a woman into custody using a Temporary Detention Order who has been hanging out in Kanawha Plaza. She's seriously mentally ill and wouldn't move because her stuff is there," Rivera said.
Tuesday night, the Kanawha Plaza in Downtown Richmond was empty. So were the makeshift beds there. Many of the people they belong to had abandoned them to seek shelter indoors.
"The temperatures are dangerous," said Rivera. "This has been one of the coldest winters in a long time so we're probably going to work a little harder this winter and over the next few days too."
The Daily Planet hands out cold weather items to the homeless like hand warmers, gloves and hats and also tries to move folks into shelters.
Rivera says, there are over 800 beds in the metro-Richmond area but right now, the city's shelters are full. Even the overflow shelter, which has 90 beds, is almost at capacity with 87 people staying there.
According to Richmond City spokesman Mike Wallace, "The city overflow shelter did experience an increase last night but accommodated all those who needed shelter.
Residents in need of overnight shelter are asked to report to Commonwealth Catholic Charities "Homeless Point of Entry by 5 p.m. each day for a comprehensive intake and referral to the appropriate shelter. This also helps ensure all available beds in the City are filled."
No one who needs shelter will be turned away. The Commonwealth Catholic Charities Homeless Point of Entry is located at 511 West Grace Street.
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