Chattahoochee Valley shelters helping homeless escape the cold - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Chattahoochee Valley shelters helping homeless escape the cold

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The South is fighting another round of winter weather, and the Chattahoochee Valley is no exception. Many people have prepared for the cold by stocking up on food and warm clothes, and local shelters are doing the same in order to be ready for those who need a place to stay during the freeze.

Most nights, the Howard Mott Center for Men, located at Valley Rescue Mission on 2nd Ave. in Columbus, is filled with men in need of shelter. The facility can accept a total of 36 men per night, but Ed Key, the director of Howard Mott, said the team is preparing to accommodate about 45 men tonight and tomorrow because of the cold weather.

"This year, we have probably averaged about 40 to 45 men per night especially during this weather," Key said. "Since January of 2014, and the snow storm, we have been serving countless number of men."

Howard Mott Center has stocked up on blankets, bedding and jackets to three times more than they had back in 2013.

"We've gotten several donations on blankets for the past few days," Key said. "So, we have plenty of blankets and our food stock is full. We will also continue to take extra precautions to look for those who stay here."

Check-in time for those who want to stay at Howard Mott overnight need to come from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. However, Key said the Center will be opened throughout the night until the cold weather subsides. The center will accept as many men as they can.

"We are doing a couple of things differently," Key explained. "We have a couple of 50 lb. bags of salt that we will use on our sidewalks to avoid anyone from falling or slipping."

While local shelters help homeless people, home owners also need to take care of their homes. Although power outage has not been a huge problem for the Chattahoochee Valley, Robert Watkins from Georgia Power said people need to come up with ways to avoid having high energy bills.

During the cold weather, people need to consider going on energy efficient programs to save money.

"Most people think about budget billing when trying to save money, but it has nothing to do with saving money," Watkins said.

Budget billing allows users to even out their bills so they can predict about how much money they have to pay on monthly basis. In order to sign up for budge billing with Georgia Power, you have to have lived at the house for about a year, so Georgia Power can have some numbers to average and work with.

However, Watkins said energy efficient programs aim to help users save significant amount of money. An energy expert will visit the house and perform a free analysis to see how the power is being used around the house.

Call the 1-888-655-5888 to reach Georgia Power to ask for energy efficient programs.

Damascus Way Home for Women & Children and Howard Mott Center for Men are shelters that can help the homeless and others who need shelters for few days.

Visit the website http://valleyrescuemission.org/shelters/ to see how you can get in touch with the shelters.

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