COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus warming shelter is opening their doors for the first time this year for homeless on Sunday.
People were already calling Safe House to see if the shelter would be open as a way for them to get out the cold. They have enough room for about 200 people.
"They can come in to get something to eat, we fellowship with them, play games with them and we set the cots up and they can be out of the element," said Safe House manager Ronald Jackson.
Several cots will be laid out in several parts of the shelter and church on an as-needed basis. At any time, Safe House workers will be ready to receive anyone who knocks on their doors for their help.
"There's no specific time because some people are out there and think they can handle it and then 10-11 o'clock they can't handle it. So then they'll come in," said Jackson.
Two years ago this month in Columbus, Paul Garner, a homeless man, died from hypothermia after sleeping out in bitter cold weather. His body was found close by a homeless shelter. The Safe House wants to protect anyone they can from from the same incident.
"Our Chaplin came in and said with the agencies and churches that we have here in Columbus, there's no reason for a person to die on the streets in Columbus of freezing to death. Even though it may be trying on us with us working long hours it's to prevent a death and that's the most important thing to prevent another person from dying on the streets in Columbus," said Jackson.
With more guests to accommodate now that the warming station is open donations are coming in blankets, tissue and coffee and food will help the shelter get through the next few days.
And you don't have to be homeless to use the shelter. Safe House says those who don't have working heat in their home are also welcomed to come.
Safe House plans to close the warming station Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., depending on the temperatures for the rest of the week.