When temperatures drop to below freezing, what happens to the people without homes?
The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope could be the difference between life and death for many men in Baton Rouge who otherwise would have to sleep on the streets.
“This is a blessing. I mean anything beats sleeping on the street cuz it’s about to be 25 degrees,” says Everett Matthews, a transient of Center of Hope.
Director of Development for the Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge, Miriam Overton, has been working at the Center of Hope for two years, and she says being out in the cold is a dangerous place for men who do not have proper shelter.
“It doesn’t take much for a body to begin shut down in the cold. It doesn’t have to get to sub-zero temperatures for someone to lose their life in the cold,” says Overton.
The Center of Hope offers shelter for men in the Baton Rouge area who have no place to go when night falls.
It’s a place of sanctuary for people like Everett Matthews.
“If this place wasn’t here, I’d make my shelter.”
Matthews is in a transitional housing program at the Center of Hope. That means for $8 a night, he gets a bed, two home-cooked meals, his clothes washed, and even gets to catch up on his favorite tv shows.
The shelter welcomes any man looking for shelter and gives them their first seven nights for free. Matthews now calls many of the men he has met at the Center of Hope his “brothers” and says he sees how much the shelter impacts their lives.
“I talked to some of the people and from what I’ve heard it wasn’t a pleasant experience. After two or three nights on the street, you gon’ snap.”
The shelter is located at 7361 Airline Highway and never turns away any man who is looking for a good nights rest out of the cold.