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Shelters work to take in more during harsh winter

YORKRESCUEMISSION

The York Rescue Mission wants to change lives, but that gets even harder when its clients are worried about basic survival, out in freezing temperatures.

“That’s a life or death situation when you’re sitting outside all night long,” says Bob Rhoads, a client who’s part of the shelter’s longer-term program. “It’s the coldest winter we’ve had in I can’t even think of how long.”

The shelter says it’s never been over capacity this winter, but they’ve had a steady flow of clients. That includes many new faces who haven’t been there before. The shelter can add about 40 more beds into its chapel, when they have a full house.

“You get all walks of life, I think the challenging part is to deal with different mentalities, and different struggles, and to try to make it all mesh together,” says Cecil Anderson, who works at the Rescue Mission.

The shelter has a policy that no one gets turned away under 30 degrees. Clients are allowed to stay 10 days but in a winter like this they can stay longer.

The Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg says they had more than 100 men staying there Friday night, well over its 70-person capacity. They expect an even bigger number for the snowstorm Sunday night.