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Shelter offers option for homeless in cold

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 03 2014 09:02:34 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2014 09:34:28 PM CST

Frigid temperatures can be dangerous for people who are outside with no place to go, but there are options for the homeless.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Frigid temperatures can be dangerous for people who are outside with no place to go, but there are options for the homeless.

Allentown Rescue Mission's Gateway Emergency Shelter has open beds for adult men. They have 48 beds in the shelter and only 26 men stayed there Thursday night.

"Our hope is that we do fill all the beds. We encourage all the men who are outside in this bitter cold to please come to the Allentown Rescue Mission, we are here to help you," said Program Director Rob Romig. "I know there are people who choose even in these temperatures to stay outdoors and that's very unfortunate."

"It's actually freezing outside and these guys were very nice and pleasant to allow me to stay here," said Richard Ray, one of the men staying at the shelter. "It's been cold out. I slept in my van for about a week and then I discovered this place and they just took me in and helped me. Now I got a job."

The men who are staying there all have different situations that got them to this point, but they are thankful to have the option to stay at the shelter.

"More than you can imagine. It's a godsend, this place, if not a lot of people will freeze to death in this weather," said Daniel Ford, who is also staying there. "If there's somebody out there that needs a place to stay, they can come here, you have to go through a little process to get in, it's worth it."

Before coming to the shelter, men must first go to the police station to get a voucher after passing a criminal background check to ensure nobody staying there has an outstanding warrant.

Romig said, "We implore the people who are outside to come into our shelter."