By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
With weather forecasts predicting a temperature dip into the single digits Monday and Tuesday, Captains Mark and Sally Love are preparing a warm place to stay at the Salvation Army shelter in Richmond, 1675 E. Main St.
Although the shelter is normally open to adults-only from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day, hours will be extended through the daytime on both Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of the emergency weather conditions, Sally said. Children also will be permitted to stay through this time as well.
“We just want to get the word out that if people need a place to come, they can feel comfortable coming here,” she said.
The shelter can house around 20 people, but cots and mattresses are available to accommodate more.
The shelter’s community room has a large television, computers and some board games for children. The soup kitchen will be serving hot meals and coffee, Sally said.
“We are better equipped now than we’ve ever been to respond to community situations,” she said.
Separate men and women’s rooms have bunk beds, and on each is a donated memory-foam mattress. Both rooms have showers and bathrooms attached, but a newly installed ADA-compliant bathroom is now available as well, Mark pointed out Friday while giving a tour of the facility.
Each guest will receive hygiene items, blankets, sheets and, if needed, a clothing voucher for the Salvation Army Thrift Store that sits next door to the shelter.
The Loves were there Friday to replace a few light bulbs and get ready for a potential influx of visitors beginning Sunday night when the shelter opens at 6 p.m.
In their four years of leading the local Salvation Army unit in Richmond, Sally said she couldn’t recall when temperatures had gotten so low.
While some people may prefer to be to themselves instead of living in a shelter, she said, when conditions get dangerous, she wants them to know they have a place to stay.
Some individuals may not have sufficient heat in their homes or they might be living in their car, she said, and they are always welcome too.
The shelter is open 365 days a year during the regular hours of 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. The soup kitchen serves hot meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Guests may stay up to 30 days, with a six-month waiting period between stays, Mark said.
On Day 1, however, shelter manager Danny Gribbins meets with each client to discover the best way to help them.
There may be various reasons why someone ends up at the shelter, Sally said, but the goal is to help each person “figure out what the next steps are.”
If a case is too complex, the Salvation Army can seek help through community partners such as CompCare, Kentucky River Foothills and adult protective services.
Occasionally, a transient passing through Richmond may stop in for a stay, but those who use the shelter are “mostly local folks in a crisis,” Sally said.
If the crisis is the loss of a job, training is available on topics from how to fill out an online application to how to conduct oneself during an interview.
“We have helped with job searches to teaching someone how to wash their clothes — and everything in between,” Mark said.
Guests are permitted to leave their belongings safely at the shelter during the day while it is closed.
On Friday, a person who was staying at the shelter called to say she had found an apartment to rent and would be picking up her things that night.
The shelter also accepts families in other emergency situations, such as after a fire, Sally said.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ex. 6696.