Jan. 3, 2014
With winter weather settling in, the grass-roots organization PACEM, is reaching out to the homeless community to help keep them safe and warm as the temperature drops.
Every night from late October to March, PACEM sets up cots and serves warm meals at two of its more than 70 volunteering congregations.
"They are in a safe environment for the night. They are in a warm environment for the night, and they are with folks who are going to look out for them and care for them," said Dawn Grzegorczyk, PACEM's executive director
Grzegorczyk say staying outside overnight in cold weather poses a health and safety risk to the homeless population.
"The threat is real out there when the weather is this cold; the threat of hypotherma. Staying outside for any length of time during this type of weather in dangerous," said Grzegorczyk.
Finding shelter in the winter months can be especially hard for someone who is homeless. As the temperature drops, folks at PACEM say the number of people needing a place to stay each night increases.
"During the coldest days we usually have to refer a few men to the Salvation Army, to their warm room, because we can only take 45 men," Grzegorczyk said.
Each night between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., individuals in need of shelter can sign in at The Haven in downtown Charlottesville.