Shelters open to protect homeless from cold

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - There have been several cold nights across the Valley in recent days.  Unfortunately, some people have to spend their nights outside in the cold.

When you go to the park, you may swing a little, hit the slide, or read.  However, for some they do not go to parks to play, they go to sleep. It's through doors like House of Mercy on 3rdAvenue they can seek refuge from the cold.

"We will give them a good hot meal. They are able to get a shower and if they need clothing, a change of clothing, we offer them that as well," said shelter director Bobby Harris.

They set cots out in the library and chapel; they are given linen as well. Long time resident Larry Norah says the shelter saved him at the right time.

"I tell you I don't know where I would be right now without it. And, I consider myself very fortunate to be here."

According to, there are over 2,000 homeless people in Columbus on any given day. Harris says they can take in up to 100 people a night,

"We have made pallets even on the floor, that's better than being out in the elements."

House of Mercy can also become a long term home for anyone who wants to stay. Norah says he knows what it's like to sleep outside.

"It's very disillusioning; Very lonely. You don't have what you use to have being in a house, and then you have to sleep on the street."

Harris says they have about 12 children that live at the shelter and in spite of their situations, they are all on AB honor roll; and he's pretty proud of that.

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