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Final plans prepared to provide overnight shelter in face of approaching ‘deep freeze’

NORTHEAST Ind. (WPTA21) – Finding warm places to bed down when the temperatures go below zero this week, possibly way below zero.

As snow fell mid-day Monday, temperatures climbed above freezing.

Tuesday through Thursday, those temps will fall off the cliff.

It would be hard to imagine anyone being able to survive sleeping under a bridge or somewhere outside.

“Going from couch to couch, pretty much couch surfing, you know, sometimes outside,” that’s how Eugene Holmes described times in his life when he’s had to scramble to find shelter.

He’s grateful right now to be staying warm in the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.

“Having somewhere warm to be is very assuring and heartwarming to me,” Holmes said.

The mayor’s office advises people in need of a place to stay overnight to physically check in first at the Rescue Mission offices on West Superior Street.

A variety of churches and other agencies stand ready to provide shelter when temperatures drop below certain levels, but the Rescue Mission will supervise all referrals.

The Mission welcomes donated coats and gloves, but says it has all the volunteer help it needs.

“We invite you to stay home, because this is not the kind of weather you need to be in. And so our volunteer needs are taken care of,” said Pastor Donovan Coley, who runs the rescue mission.

Besides shelter for the disadvantaged, there is a chance anyone could find himself or herself in a sudden emergency situation, if their car broke down, for instance, in the bitter cold.

You might not be okay with stopping to give someone a ride, but you can show compassion in other ways.

“We have opportunities for people to call a non emergency number being 311, if they feel like something is an emergency, 911 might be the best way to do that,” said John Perlich, with the City of Fort Wayne.

Police say if your car does break down, stay in the vehicle, that you need to stock with water, a flashlight and extra blankets.

“The last thing you want to do is expose yourself to the elements, and not have any shelter that you can immediately go to,” said Fort Wayne Police Department spokesman Officer Michael Joyner.

Maybe the best piece of advice for the public, have a fully charged cellphone along for the ride, so you’re not stranded in one of the most hazardous stretches of weather to hit this area in decades.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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