Snow causes complications for homeless and those who care for them

By  | 

ROANOKE, Va (WDBJ7) "I will be under the Elm Street Bridge tonight."

Ryan "Buddy" Moore is homeless. And as snow takes aim at the Roanoke Valley, he's looking for somewhere safe to spend the night.

"It's not a great place but it is out of the wind and it will permit me to be warm enough where I'll survive," he said Saturday night.

Snow complicates life for both people like Moore, and groups like the Rescue Mission that are tasked with helping out.

"We're like everybody else. Just waiting to see what happens!" said Tracy Altizer, Chief Development Officer at the Rescue Mission. She says snow makes it harder for the mission to get volunteers in.

At the same time, the Rescue Mission must decide whether to open day-shelter facilities for the city's homeless.

"Once we know the storm is actually happening, then we make the decision to provide day shelter," she said.

All that extra effort puts a strain on the mission's finances. "When we are possibly having to provide day shelter, and extend hours and pay staff a bit more, then that makes a big difference," Altizer said.

But the Rescue Mission isn't alone. The Salvation Army is providing "a warm place to be and have coffee and refreshments" at their shelter on Dale Avenue. It's a effort to keep the worst from happening

"If the conditions get right, you could die of exposure before you wake up," said Buddy Moore.