With temperatures plummeting across the state, nearly 100 homeless people sought shelter Sunday night at the St. Vincent de Paul's Bishop Ott Shelter Program and well over 100 are expected on Monday night, said Michael Acaldo, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Baton Rouge.
And the Salvation Army also has opened extra beds in Baton Rouge as temperatures have been forecast to plunge to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday night and perhaps as low as 18 degrees Tuesday night, with extreme cold to continue through Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.
"We put our freeze plan into effect before this past New Year’s Day weekend, and continue to be prepared to accommodate homeless men, women, and children in need of shelter during this cold weather. Our freeze plan will continue through the first week of January," Acaldo said in a written statement.
"Our program operates three night shelters (with a capacity of more than 120 beds) and one homeless day center. We currently operate two emergency shelters for men and one for homeless women and children," he said.
"We expect to fill all beds and will make room for emergency cases," Acaldo said. "Our Sweet Dreams Shelter for women and children expansion is projected to open in January. This expansion will add more than 40 beds to our 36-bed facility."
The SVdP centers need: blankets, adult coats; men, women and children’s underwear; socks; knit caps; gloves; scarves; reading glasses (all strengths); slippers; feminine hygiene products; towels and washcloths; toiletry items such as deodorant, soap, shampoo, body wash, lotion, and body powder; twin, full, and crib size sheets; paper products (napkins, paper towels, toilet paper); disposable cups, plates, bowls, knives, forks, and spoons; and rain gear. For more information, call SVdP at (225) 383-7837 for more information. Financial contributions can be made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.
Also helping out in the Baton Rouge area is the Salvation Army, which is providing a beds and hot meals to men without shelter at The Salvation Army Center of Hope, said Salvation Army Army Command Officer Maj. Brett Meredith.
“With the extreme cold weather conditions developing over the next week, The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope is open for warming during the day and a safe place to spend the night. Cold weather shelter and a hot meal will be offered until the temperature reaches 40 degrees,” Meredith said in a written statement.
Their shelter is behind the Salvation Army Offices and Family Store at 7361 Airline Highway.