MidShore Salvation Army Launches Inclement Weather Homeless Hotline, as advocates push for more homeless help
CAMBRIDGE, Md- Below Freezing temperatures on Delmarva mean a renewed focus on helping the homeless stay warm.
The Salvation Army in Cambridge launched an inclement weather hotline, designed to get people off the streets and under their roof.
“We have what we call a fellowship hall its a very large room and we turned it into a day shelter during inclement weather,” said Cambridge Salvation Army Captain Wendy Parsons.
Just under 10 people had already utilized the new space Friday morning according to Parsons. She tells us typically, they’re not open that early but with the colder temps, a change had to be made.
“There really are no hours that are left out of the window for people if they call the line,” she said.
But not all shelters have that policy and that’s where Higher Ground Outreach in Georgetown and their donations step in.
They say many shelters have hours that don’t match up leaving long dangerous stretches of the day where the homeless have to be on the street without proper clothing.
“We always need gloves and hats and boots warm boots a lot of folks are walking in tennis shoes so with conditions like last night we find them shivering unable to move or speak they are so cold,” said Lou Hernandez of Higher Ground Outreach.
Hernandez tells us the most important items have been boots as well as buddy heaters. He says standard buddy heaters run on 4 pound propane tanks, but his organization has found a way to modify them to traditional propane tanks many people may have on hand for outdoor grills. He says the upgrades would allow the space heaters to run for up to a week for homeless individuals who are not able to able to find shelter.
His group also works to provide temporary shelter with teepee tents as well as outdoor amenities.
He says getting to privately run shelters, can also be difficult for homeless individuals due to a lack of transportation.
“They don’t have transportation to get to these locations they don’t have the funds to get to these locations,” he said. He says homeless people have issues using the resources that may be available, due to many requiring up-to-date IDs. Oftentimes transportation services to local DMVs and MVAs can be difficult and cost-prohibitive.
“There have been many times that I have had to pick people up and pay for them to get these ids so they can get things like hotel vouchers and get them off the streets for at least a few nights,” he said.
The Salvation Army says they understand those concerns and are working to provide transportation services to those who call the hotline, as well as allowing others to call on homeless individuals’ behalf.
“If there is a need for us to go and pick somebody up we have the ability to do so we have drivers here that are qualified for transit,” she said.
The Salvation Army Cambridge Inclement Weather Hotline can be reached at 410-228-2442 ext.1012. Donations for the Higher Ground Outreach can be made at their new PO box at Box 11 Georgetown De, 19947, as well as scheduled over the phone at 302-470-7497.