Those Without Homes Work To Stay Warm When Cold Hits

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) -- With freezing temperatures, some homeless people, have trouble staying warm during the day.

The Valley Mission does have a day shelter; however, some homeless in Waynesboro who stay at an overnight shelter don't always have a place to go before it gets dark.

"You gotta dress for it. you know. And if you don't dress for it you're going to freeze," said Douglas Lepera who is looking for construction jobs, and stays warm inside the Waynesboro library, "It's hard to deal with it, you find a place where you can go get a little warm. See if you can find any work, or find another place that's open if the library's not open."

The Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry (WARM) offers men and women a place to stay at various churches during cold winter nights.

David Emery, WARM's director of community services, said daytime provides a challenge.

"Just you know the things we take for granted, we come home from work, open the refrigerator, grab a beer and sit down and watch the News. These guys fight the cold all day," said Emery.

Within the city, the group can host 20 guests at a church.

Guests sleep on cots and church volunteers cook meals.

"It's amazing to me the amount of people that are homeless in the city of Waynesboro. We're only servicing a small portion of them. I know of several people who only come to the shelter when it's below zero," said Emery.

As the weather turns colder into the week, WARM is one option for those who have no where to go.

"Having to brave the elements is very difficult," said Steve Jolley, a veteran currently staying at the shelter.

"If you're in a tough time and a tough spot, stop by. We'll take care of you, we'll give you a hot meal and a cot, breakfast in the morning," said Emery.

WARM in Waynesboro is looking into a permanent day shelter that would allow people to have a place to look for jobs and stay warm during the day.

The Valley Mission, in Staunton, has a day shelter where people who are accepted can stay.

Susan Richardson, the executive director, said they have five more people staying there trying to avoid this cold weather.


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