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Charities make cold less brutal for homeless

11:53 PM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
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Full Weather Coverage Link: Tampa Bay Weather

TAMPA -- The last 48 hours have been rough for Randy Montgomery. He's homeless, and last night he slept outside.

"I woke up and my hands were red and stiff from being so cold," said Montgomery.

Randy's story is not unique. When severe cold comes to Tampa, shelters fill up quickly. So Randy set out early on Tuesday to find a warm place to sleep, and Metropolitan Ministries stepped up with a hotel room.

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"You're going to have a warm bed tonight, Randy," said one of the shelter employees before handing him a voucher for the free room.

"It brings tears to my eyes," said Montgomery. "They didn't push me away like I'm just some thing walking down the street."

Gwen Harmon, public affairs director at Metropolitan Ministries, explained the charity usually only provides shelter for families, not individuals, but she felt for Montogomery because he had to stay out in the cold.

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"If it's a bending the rules kind of situation, we can bend the rules, because we are here to provide comfort and to do it through dignity," said Harmon.

Not far down the street at the Salvation Army, the line for rooms is 50 deep. The charity will provide shelter for more than 225 people in their downtown location free of cost this night. No one is ever turned away.

"If we fill up here, we transfer them to one of our partner churches," said Tampa Salvation Army director Major James Hall.

 

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