Local homeless shelters prepare for Winter Storm 2011

LAWTON, Okla. - The nasty winter weather that headed our way Monday night has the homeless flocking to local shelters to stay out of the cold. According to last week's homeless count, there are 400 people in Comanche County.

So the question shelters faced, was there enough room or food to give to those in need.

While these large winter storms have more people seeking shelter, it doesn't mean they aren't prepared. In fact, local shelters tell 7News they're ready for this type of an event all year round.

Food, clothes, even beds were available starting Monday afternoon at the shelters. But it took several hours of prep work and spending hundreds of dollars.

"Been working on purchasing extra food, double checking to make sure we have enough supplies to make it through a good week. Just in case, if we get snowed in or something or roads just get so bad we can't get out and get the necessary things we need," says C. Carter Crane Homeless Shelter Director Betty Caldwell.

Caldwell says the C. Carter Crane Homeless Shelter can hold up to 35 people a night. But she says if her shelter is full, they call on the Salvation Army or The American Red Cross.

"To make sure we do have the people off the street and they are safe," says Caldwell.

While The Red Cross doesn't have its own full-time shelter, official Charles Gibson says they do have five locations across Southwest Oklahoma that can be opened on short notice. Those are on standby and all of them able to take in hundreds of people.

"What we have to do is be prepared for the worst. So, we're making sure that.. as many or more as we housed during the ice storm that will be able to house currently," says Gibson.

7News also spoke to the Lawton Salvation Army who says police have brought a few people in this evening. Officials say they have 45 beds available at the shelter plus 20 cots for the next few days. He says they will remain open throughout the day Tuesday as a warming station to offer drinks and lunch.

Both the Salvation Army and C. Carter Crane say all day it was very slow. People weren't asking for a place to stay. Officials tell 7News they suspect it was because the weather was nice Monday afternoon, so folks on the street didn't know what was in store for tonight.