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Lawton Shelters Filled Up During Storm

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LAWTON Okla_ This winter storm forced many of Lawton's homeless to seek shelter inside. They really only have a couple places to go: The C. Carter Crane Shelter and the Salvation Army.

As of tonight, the Crane Shelter is full, but the Salvation Army said they filled about 60 percent of its beds overnight.

The shelter had around 30 people stay the night Thursday night, which is more than normal. They expect to see the same number Friday, especially with such cold temperatures. Most of the people left Friday morning, but a lot of them are showing back up here for the dinner the shelter serves at 6PM every night.

Lieutenant Israel Roseno said the shelter opened its doors around noon Thursday when the weather started getting bad.

"There was actually already a gentleman in our lobby, so that for us was a good indicator that it would be beneficial to the community to just open right away," Roseno said.

Case Manager MacDonald Chava said they've seen more people than they have in a long time.

"People started calling in the morning," Chava said. "Late in the evening, we saw many come in for shelter."

The shelter does not normally serve lunch, but they are now since they are staying open 24 hours.

"We have good volunteers and employees that were willing to step out of their comfort zone and run the shelter," Roseno said.

Not all 30 people from Thursday night stayed throughout the day, but they suspect most had jobs and that they will come back when it gets dark.

"Most of them have told me they appreciate it very much to be able to stay overnight," Roseno said.

The shelter is set up like a dorm, with two rooms filled with a total of 45 bunk beds, one for men and one for women. They also have two bathrooms with several showers in each. Roseno doesn't think they will reach capacity, but if they do, they have a plan in place.

"We will go into what we call emergency mode," Roseno said. "We will try to secure cots and other things. We have a church building right next door that can be an extension to our services here."

The shelter will be open 24 hours per day until the weather conditions get better.

The shelter does have enough food to feed anyone who comes through their doors, but Roseno said any hot food donations would be greatly appreciated. They are also still in need of heaters to give out to people who are either homeless or don't have electricity.

 

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