Shelters filling up, in need of supplies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is at double occupancy with 150 people staying there every night.

Facility managers said it doesn’t want anyone staying outside during these frigid temperatures, so they are setting up cots and sleeping bags to accommodate men, women and children. But with more people staying there, its supply of blankets and pillows is depleted, and it’s asking the community for help.

“Pillows, blankets, fitted single sheets would just be tremendous, preferably new, but at least serviceable. Our washing machines and dryers run 24 hours a day every day,” said Rescue Mission Executive Director Jim Echement.

The mission also will take any coats, hats and other winter clothing. Boots size 10 and up also are needed.

Brad Weber is one of those people that is thankful he lives at the Rescue Mission in Youngstown.

“It’s just nice to have a place that I can lay down at night and be safe and have a roof over my head,” Weber said.

He helps out by serving food to people who come to the facility.

“We see a lot of people that come in on a daily basis that don’t have a place to stay and they’re just grateful to have a meal,” Weber said.

The Community Action Agency of Columbiana County only has one vacancy right now, with 12 spots already filled. When it’s full, agency officials start networking.

“If we happen to be full, we also make referrals to the neighboring counties and we also have some local churches that will let people in for them to stay,” said Courtney Kountz of the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County.

Diane Wells and her husband Tom never thought they would be staying in a homeless shelter. They’re thankful they have somewhere warm to stay thanks to the Columbiana agency.

“I was a nurse and we had a good money coming in and you really don’t think my whole life is going to change from this experience,” Wells said.

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