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With bitter cold coming, Salvation Army prepares shelters for homeless people

The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command expected to see an influx of people seeking shelter around Jan. 8.

NORFOLK, Va. — Maj. Donald Dohmann, the Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Commander, said when temperatures drop, the men’s and women’s shelters in Norfolk start to fill up.

“Typically this time of year, we’ll see an increase of need,” he said.

He told 13News Now on Thursday that kitchen staff were preparing to feed more people at both shelters this weekend. They expect to double the amount of food volunteers normally serve.

“We may go from 20 to 40 [people] in one or two days," he said. "So, you know, doubling the food amount we’re having to make for breakfast and for dinner.”

Dohmann said the men’s shelter can hold about 40 people. It’s women and children’s shelter can hold 24. He expects to see both shelters near capacity with colder weather on the way.

“We’ve seen it last weekend," he said. "You know, last week it was so warm and as soon as that colder weather Sunday into Monday when it start setting in, we certainly saw an increase.”

The Salvation Army also planned to extend its day services.

“We actually make some exceptions and allow them to stay in where it’s warmer throughout the day,” Dohmann said.

He hopes these adjustments will keep those in need warm each day.

“We certainly hope that those that need that warm place to stay will take advantage of that opportunity,” Dohmann said.

If you are seeking shelter, you can call the Regional Housing Crisis Housing Hotline at 757-587-4202. Hotline staff will help connect you to resources and shelters in your city and that will fit your needs.