Agencies prepare to care for Memphis’ unhoused during freezing weather

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 10:19 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As freezing temperatures head our way, many Mid-Southerners are already thinking about where they’ll find warmth and shelter.

Several local organizations are offering shelter to Memphians experiencing homelessness and gearing up for the winter season ahead.

“We’ve seen people that have died on the street,” said Lisa Anderson, executive director of Room In the Inn Memphis. “We have seen people that have become ill because of exposure to the weather.”

As frigid temperatures head our way, the most vulnerable in our community are at risk, but non-profit organizations like Room In the In Memphis are prepared to help.

Anderson says they’re partnering with about 25 church congregations this winter to offer emergency shelter and meals to Memphians experiencing homelessness.

“We just felt called to open the doors of our place of worship and then to invite other congregations to do the same,” Anderson said. “It gives faith communities an opportunity to do something they believe is a right, which is to shelter people to keep people safe during a time that is very unsafe.”

This week, temperatures are expected to drop below freezing overnight.

Warming centers like the one at the Hospitality Hub of Memphis will be open and will provide a hot meal for those who come through their doors.

“We have our building segregated in such a way that there’s room for single men, and the lobby, and there’s another big room for single women, and there’s another room for women with children,” said Kelcey Johnson, executive director of Hospitality Hub of Memphis. “We had all three of those groups here last night and it was very cold.”

Johnson says the new facility has helped them reach more people.

The non-profit’s new facility is more than eight times the size of the Hub’s previous home.

The second floor of the building, dubbed the Hub Hotel, provides emergency shelter for women and children.

Both Anderson and Johnson hope to help put a roof over Memphis’ unhoused on dangerously cold days and nights.

“So many of the people that come here don’t have a bunch of options, or they run out of options,” Johnson said. “They don’t have family members they can go crash with. That kind of thing. If not us then who is going to help them?”

The Hospitality Hub opens every day at 8:30 a.m.

Registration for emergency shelter with Room In the Inn is at 4 p.m. every day at First United Methodist Church Downtown.

You can find Room In the Inn’s host calendar here.

Anderson says before the pandemic, over 50 congregations joined them in their effort.

The non-profit is now working with about half of that and they’re looking for more congregations to join them. You can find out how to join their initiative here.

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