MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dangerously low temperatures will hit Memphis and the Mid-South just days before Christmas, but what will that mean for one of the most vulnerable populations — the homeless?
WREG has the information you’ll need if you or someone know is seeking shelter during the bitterly cold weather.
While many prepare to celebrate the holiday season cozied-up indoors with family and friends, the next few days could be an especially difficult time for our homeless neighbors.
As temperatures are expected to drop 50 degrees to single digits by Thursday night, WREG wanted to find out if the City of Memphis has a plan to help the homeless find shelter.
“I think we’re prepared for the most vulnerable, the homeless population,” Mayor Jim Strickland said.
The Community Alliance for the Homeless point-in-time counts estimates there were 739 sheltered or unsheltered persons in Memphis and Shelby County last year.
With heavy wind gusts and the possibility of precipitation, some city leaders said the need is still great to help the homeless population.
“We have an increasing homeless population. My concern is that we can take care of those. This is not common weather for Memphis. I hope that the administration and others are prepared to take of those who are less fortunate,” City Council Chair Martavius Jones said.
Mayor Jim Strickland said the city does have a plan to assist the homeless.
“Hospitality Hub, our partner who works in the homeless field….when we built a new shelter downtown, the old Washington (Avenue) car inspection location, they agreed to take over the cooling and warming center. So that’s the warming center,” Mayor Strickland said.
That center did not appear to be open Wednesday nighh.
The mayor said the city will be working with MATA to provide free transportation to get the homeless to a shelter and out of the cold.
“Now if there is a need for overflow, which we expect there will…we’ll open one or two city-owned facilities and MATA will transport for free and there will be teams looking for homeless to really encourage them to come and get inside because it’s going to be so cold,” Mayor Strickland said.