The Maroon

Homeless shelter houses more people for winter weather

The+check+sits+outside+of+the+New+Orleans+Mission.+New+Orleans+Mission+is+a+faith-based+homeless+shelter.+Photo+credit%3A+Sidney+Holmes
The check sits outside of the New Orleans Mission. New Orleans Mission is a faith-based homeless shelter. Photo credit: Sidney Holmes

The check sits outside of the New Orleans Mission. New Orleans Mission is a faith-based homeless shelter. Photo credit: Sidney Holmes

The check sits outside of the New Orleans Mission. New Orleans Mission is a faith-based homeless shelter. Photo credit: Sidney Holmes

Sidney Holmes

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With one of the deepest cold spells in years, New Orleanians are doing all they can to bundle up and stay inside.

But for over 1,000 people in the city, just staying in a warm home isn’t an option.

That’s because 1,626 people in New Orleans are homeless, according to a tracking service by the city.

Some are taking steps to give people in a need a place to stay for the night, like the New Orleans Mission, a faith-based homeless shelter.

It’s a shelter that’s open year-round for the homeless, but is especially crowded during freezes.

The shelter, which is currently being renovated, is normally able to take in 60 men and 24 women every night, but during the freeze, an additional 70 men and 10 women will be able to seek shelter there.

John Proctor, director of operations at New Orleans Mission, said that they have also lifted the requirements that people have to meet in order to check in to the shelter.

“Normally, if someone comes in that’s under the influence, they might get turned away if they’re not what we consider functional, but with the weather like it is and the wind chill, people’s lives are in danger, so we’ll take in anyone until we reach our capacity,” he said.

Proctor said that he wishes they could take in more people, but with 75 percent of the building under renovation, they are limited in space. He said that when the building is restored, they will be able to take in 250 men and 250 women nightly and an additional 200 people on freezing nights.

Each person that checks into the New Orleans Mission is supplied with a shower, clean clothes, dinner and a bed. The New Orleans Mission also provides a program that helps people restore their lives through faith.

“God didn’t make these people to live on these streets, under bridges or on the sidewalks. They weren’t designed for that. He wants their lives changed, and we’re just fortunate enough to be called to do it,” he said.

To Proctor, the most important service of the New Orleans Mission is helping people see another day.

“Whether they join us on not, they still have to stay alive,” Proctor said.

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Homeless shelter houses more people for winter weather