Cold weather taking its toll on homeless
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
On Wednesday, some of Volusia County’s homeless were desperately seeking shelter and social service organizations were trying to help them.
A young Black homeless male who would only identify himself as Dave was huddled up with a group at a park. He was afraid to tell his full name in fear that law enforcement would seek him out.
“We’re just suffering through. Most of us will sleep in parks under pavilions and gazebos. We really need help. We need more shelters. Over in front of HUM (Halifax Urban Ministries) on North Street, there was over 100 people waiting in line to sign up for shelters. They don’t have enough beds.”
‘No other options’
Chad Dodge stood outside HUM’s Daytona Beach location at 215 Bay St. on Wednesday around noon, shivering from the cold and rain.
“I’m not going to the shelter because it was too many people waiting in line to sign up. I have no other options for shelter. I’m soaked and wet, and it’s freezing cold. I don’t know what we are going to do to night. Tonight and the next couple of nights are going to be brutal,” Dodge told the Daytona Times.
‘Rough out here’
Covered with a blanket, Justin Russell sat outside of HUM’s location at 340 North St. in Daytona Beach around lunchtime.
He said, “It’s so cold out here. We need shelter. We need a big one. That’s all I got to say.”
Brad Clerkin also was outside of the North Street location covered by a blanket sitting next to his friend, Justin Russell.
Clerkin was anxious but still upbeat and thankful for any help.
He said, “We’re grinding. It’s extremely cold. It’s rough out here. These people at HUM are very gracious and helpful. They are doing the best they can. They are shorthanded. They are giving us blankets and food. We need help. We also need to help ourselves. We’re trying to stay warm and dry. God bless us all. We need more shelters. Some of us are willing to work to stay there.”
At the close of business on Wednesday, HUM had set up three shelters with a total of 75 beds in Port Orange and Deltona.
In Port Orange, there were 35 beds at First United Methodist Church at 305 Dunlawton Ave. and 10 for men only at Port Orange Christian Church, 904 Taylor Road.
Deltona Lakes Baptists Church at 2886 Elkcam Blvd. in Deltona also took in 30 people.
Other cold weather shelters listed in Volusia County include United Church of Christ at 203 Washington St. in New Smyrna Beach and St. Peters Catholic Church, 359 W. New York Ave., DeLand.
HUM also is working with Volusia County and the American Red Cross to get people shelters, provide them with food and clothing. Other organizations also were needed to help out.
“It’s all in the works. We have citizens and people pulling together to help the homeless. We still need all the help that we can get,” said Sue Ellen Jackson, executive director of Halifax Urban Ministries.
In the meantime, HUM was giving out blankets, food and other warm clothing at both its Bay Street and North Street locations in Daytona.
When the temperature drops to 40 degrees, emergency cold weather shelters open.
Temperatures for Daytona Beach and parts of Volusia county were projected to be in the upper 20s and low 30s for Thursday and Friday morning with highs in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Saturday’s forecast was for lows in the 30s to highs in the 50s. Temperatures are expected to climb up to the 60s by Sundays.