LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The freezing temperatures and snowfall has an East Texas rescue mission imploring those who are homeless to come in out of the cold.
The Hiway 80 Rescue Mission in Longview is prepared for overflow numbers at their shelter to accommodate all who need a warm place to stay.
Midday in Longview on Sunday, a few flakes begin to fall. An hour later, it became heavy flurries.
And time is a factor for workers at the mission.
“We’re going to give them shelter, we’re going to give them food. We’re going to take care of their needs. There’s a few that we expect, when it gets wet and when it gets cold, they’re going to come in,” said mission director Brian Livingston.
But each winter the shelter deals with the homeless who steadfastly refuse to come in.
“There’s some people that just refuse the services,” Brian says.
“We don’t want anyone to die because they’re too proud or too ashamed or whatever to come back and stay at the mission. We’d rather have you here so we know you’re safe,” said men’s shelter worker Dustin Lee.
But staying out in the elements is a dangerous practice that cost one East Texas man his life from exposure in 2017.
With temperatures hovering just above freezing all day and the snow beginning to fall, mission workers are pleading with the homeless to come in for their own safety.
With COVID-19 being an issue, they’re making allowances by sleeping people on the floor if they have to.
“We’ve got mats that we put out here in our day room. We’ll use other parts of the building if we need to for overflow kind of areas just maintaining that social distancing,” Livingston says.
The mission needs donations of blankets and warm clothing, and well as food donations to provide meals for those staying at their facilities. They can be reached at (903) 759-8101.