Shelters Strained From Homeless Care - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/9/06-Longview

Shelters Strained From Homeless Care

It's not just the weather.  Shelters in Longview say they are seeing more and more people in need of a warm place to stay and a hot meal, and their resources are getting drained in the process.

"It really troubles us that there are so many folks out there in a real need," said Hiway 80 Operations Manager Ken Leonard.

The frigid overnight temperatures has sent many homeless in Longview looking for a place to stay.  "We feed about three meals a day, which equals 350 meals a day.  So the cold weather is hitting us hard," said Leonard.

But it's not just the cold, more people in need are coming in.  "I'd be in trouble I'd be out there in the cold just like the rest I wouldn't have a place to go," said homeless man Eric Pittsley.

Both the Salvation Army and the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission have been well over capacity for the past two nights. Every bed filled, and the overflow sleeping on the floor.  Feeding those in need has drained some of their resources.

"We need blankets because we ordinarily have 45 capacity at this lodge, and during these cold nights," said Longview Salvation Army Major Glen Winters.

"We take for granted when we open our cupboard that it's going to be there.  Sometimes when we open ours it's not there.  We have to improvise and make do with what we have," said Leonard.

Numbers of those in need are growing and the mission plans to build a new 40 bed dorm to serve more people. Donations of food and winter clothing can be made to the Salvation Army on Cotton street and the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission on Marshall Avenue.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com

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