Cold weather leaves icy roads, shelter open

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The cold weather has people bundling up, dodging the cold weather as much as they can, and driving through black ice. Some are even going to warming shelters for the first time this year.

There was a sea of people in Downtown Richmond on Wednesday morning bundled up, and for good reason.

"It's terrible. It's miserable. Really terrible," says Lawrence Johnson. "It's December, it's supposed to be cold." It's an easy way for Lawrence to sum up what just about all of us are thinking.

In fact, it's costing Lawrence a pretty penny to keep the heat going. "It's running. It's sky high!"

All things considered, Lawrence is a lucky one, but others are not so lucky. That's where the warming shelter at the Freedom House Conrad Center comes in handy for people like Percell Young.

"I'm trying to find a place because the house I live in, it has no heating system, water, nothing," says Percell.

While at the warming shelter he's getting that much needed heat, and trying to get himself a new place to live, thanks to Commonwealth Catholic Charities there.

"It's a blessing for them to have a place like this. I'm blessed in a way, I guess," says Young.

Meanwhile, many are counting their blessings after making it through unexpected black ice this morning on Commerce Rd.

The ice, and subsequent mess of sand, was caused by a water pipe that broke underground. Before the sand arrived -- at least one person ended up sliding and wrecking there.

Back at the shelter, Percell is looking to take advantage of any help he can get here, along with dozens of others.

He knows it takes more than just coming here everyday. "This is a good place that will help you. But you have to help yourself too."

The warming shelter will be open everyday from 6 AM until 6 PM through Sunday at the Conrad Center. It is located at 1400 Oliver Hill Way, near the city jail. After 6 PM, those in need are able to go to Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church for the city's overflow overnight shelter.

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