Homeless program sees dip in aid due to weather

The Urban Ministry Center's Room in the Inn shelter program for homeless people was among the charity efforts that took a hit from the icy weather Wednesday.

The volunteer-driven effort takes in homeless people nightly during the winter, and places them with local churches or in college dorms.

However, about a half dozen of the churches expected to take in homeless people Wednesday night were forced to back out due to the impassable roads. As a result, the 100 beds the program expected to have for homeless people was cut to about 54 by late afternoon, officials said.

Women were given a priority for those beds, and the rest of the homeless were sent to spend the night at the Men's Shelter of Charlotte, the Salvation Army Center of Hope and the Red Cross Warming Station set up at Hal Marshall Annex in uptown.

Officials at the Center of Hope said they anticipated earlier in the day that some churches might face problems sending vans to pick up the homeless, so it arranged to borrow 30 cots from the American Red Cross.

The 250-bed shelter expected to house as many as 350 people Wednesday night. The shelter also had a contingency plan in place, should electricity be knocked out by power outages over night, officials said.