Memphis Union Mission serves as warming center for men and women during the day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the arctic air blows through the area, many Mid-Southerners are fighting for a warm place to stay.

If you're looking to get out of the cold, The Memphis Union Mission serves as a warming center for men and women throughout the day.

At night, it's only a shelter for men.

They have put down temporary mats, creating more space to keep hundreds warm.

A warm meal, paired with a warm place to stay at night during frigid temperatures is something many of us take for granted.

But not Jon Burgette.

Burgette says staying at the Memphis Union Mission for the past few months has meant everything to him.

"The streets aren't an option in this weather. I meant, it's life or death," Burgette said.

WREG called several shelters that were at capacity tonight, but the Memphis Union Mission's Director of Developments, Steve Carpenter, says they have six facilities across the city.

They have created an emergency shelter at two locations on Poplar by adding temporary beds.

"Between the temporary beds we have plus the permanent beds, we should easily be able to accommodate at least 300 people," Carpenter said.

"Thankfully, we haven't been in a situation where we had to turn anybody away."

They're not just warming centers, they offer much more as well.

"We provide food, clothing, shelter and hygiene," Carpenter said. "We give people, particularly men, an opportunity to get off of the street."

"We've got long term recovery programs. We have one for men and women, and we have housing for family as well."

When temperatures dip low like tonight, he says they do a number of things to keep families warm.

"We start the check in process immediately after lunch. We keep both buildings open during the day for anybody that just wants to get out of the weather," Carpenter said.

That is something Burgette says he's grateful for.

"There's a sense of family here. We all know it's a good place to be, because outside is life or death," Burgette said.

To at a mission, all you have to do is come to the shelter.

There is no sign up process.