LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - These cold temperatures are sticking around, which creates a problem for the homeless or people without a place to stay at night. So the Salvation Army is stepping in to help. The Salvation Army has a shelter opened year-round, but the cold weather changes some things for them. The Salvation Army is opening their doors for longer because staying out in these temperatures could be life threatening.
"We're here ready for anyone who needs a nice warm place to come be safe and warm for the night," said Lawton's Salvation Army Corps Officer David Robinson.
Their shelter that is open normally from 6 in the evenings to 8 the next morning is extending those hours.
"We've been opening at 4 or right after four as soon as the staff gets here to let people in to stay warm until supper's ready," Robinson said. "And they can eat and stay the rest of the night."
The routine in the mornings has changed as well.
"The last few days we have been keeping them until about ten, and offering them a ride to someplace that's warm because it's cold getting to where you need to go," Robinson said.
If you break any of the rules at the shelter and are asked to leave, you can't come back for 90 days. But that policy is waved during cold weather.
"We don't want to be responsible and think that if somebody outside wanting to come in because of a rule that maybe they broke 6 months ago. We just don't want them out in the cold. We want them in here where it's warm," Robinson said.
Robinson said they try to equip the people staying at the shelter with things they may need to stay warm like coats, gloves and hats.
Those items are always in demand during the winter.
"It's a great opportunity to give an old coat or loves, scarves," Robinson said. "Anything like that that could help keep somebody warm. We're in wintertime. And looking at the forecast for the next week or ten days every night we are below freezing. People staying warm is very important."
If you got new winter clothes for Christmas, and want to get rid of your gently used old coats and boots and other winter item bring them to the Salvation Army at 1306 SW E Avenue. Their normal hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays. Hot meals are served at 6 p.m. daily.