IRC makes night and day changes to help keep homeless out of the cold

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Making sure that everyone in Greensboro has a warm place to sleep if they want one is a monumental task that many agencies tackle on a night like Wednesday when the temperature hovers close to 10 degrees.

The Interactive Resource Center started preparing long before the temperature dipped below the freezing mark.

“We do this because it’s a need that has to be met when conditions are like this,” said Michelle Kennedy.

The IRC transformed its day center for homeless men and women into a room with 40 cots in just a matter of hours. They’ll repeat that feat each night through Saturday, or longer, if temperatures don’t warm up.

“We make as much space as possible available to as many as we can Urban Ministries and Salvation Army and other churches pitch in and try and take care of anyone we can find,” said Bob Newton, who is on the board of director with the IRC.

Newton also arranged a deal with Home Depot to give the men and women staying overnight at the facility somewhere to keep their belongings.

“It was a great help and their employees were all over it in terms of helping us get going,” said Newton.

Newton remembers when the IRC first opened its doors at a location on Bessemer Avenue. He said the current facility on East Washington Street is closer to downtown and allows those in need of help to help each other.

“It's amazing how much of the work of the IRC is done by volunteers and a large percentage of those volunteers are clients that are simply helping each other get on with their lives as best they can and work out the problems they may have,” said Newton.

In Winston-Salem, Bethesda on East Patterson is the city’s largest homeless shelter with 100 beds. According to its website, the center served 835 people in the last year it released those numbers.