The severe weather of recent days kicked multiple emergency protocols into action, but the one that may have saved the most lives was also the least publicized.
Mecklenburg County opened an emergency warming station early Friday to take in Charlotte’s homeless during the worst of the winter storm. It sheltered 153 men, 30 women and four children, all of whom would have otherwise been wandering the streets or staying in cars.
Peter Safir of Mecklenburg County Homeless Services said the site operated out of the Homeless Resource Center on North College Street 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. At that point, those people who did not have a place to stay for the night were taken in by the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, Salvation Army Center of Hope, and the Urban Ministry’s Room in the Inn program. All three charity programs relaxed their admission policies for the night, due to the extreme temperatures, he said.
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Partners in the project included the American Red Cross, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Medic.
Emergency warming stations are activated in Mecklenburg County when temperatures and wind chills are projected to be at dangerous levels.