Shelters filling up ahead of cold Thanksgiving

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 27 at 11:21 PM

Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: aharris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @antwanharris

NEW ORLEANS -- Volunteers set up beds at the Ozanam Inn as the group prepares to help hundreds in need for the next few days.

Director Biaggio Digiovanni said the shelter is constantly running at capacity and he doesn't expect it to let up for the holidays.

"Everyone wants to be able to enjoy the day,” he said. “It is tough enough living throughout the year not being able to enjoy some stuff but at least on the holidays we want to be able to give you a good time."

Calvin Smallwood said the inn saved his life. After being homeless for two years, he understands the pain of being the less fortunate.

“This is the best thing to ever happen to me because out there, there isn't good for nobody. This is the best place for help for anybody,” he said.

At the New Orleans Mission volunteers pass out warm caps as temperatures are expected to hit some of the lowest of the season. It’s another reason why Rahsharii Goodson chose to wait in the line to claim a bed inside.

"The mission has helped me pretty much. I can enjoy the holidays now, especially with this cold weather. I'm going to be alright,” he said.

A recent report on homelessness placed New Orleans as having one of the highest rates in the country.

Mission director, Aaron Wegmann, said the numbers at this shelter usually peak this time of year.

"Right now we have about 199 beds on the men’s side and I expect completely full tonight and have an excess of 30 to 40 extra people," he said.

The city of New Orleans issued a “Freeze Plan” for Wednesday night to help the less fortunate battle the cold temperatures.

Several shelters will be open throughout the city with extra beds for those in need.

 

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