WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Area churches and groups gave a prayer blessing for the opening of the winter overflow shelters in downtown Winston-Salem Sunday night.
Along with Anthony's Plot Community, United Way and the city of Winston-Salem First Baptist Church on Fifth Street was the first overflow shelter to open its doors to both men and women.
Augsburg Lutheran will also be an overflow shelter location and Centenary UMC is assisting with donation spaces and sign up at Loaves and Fishes on Fifth Street.
Men and women, who use the overflow shelter between Dec. 1st and March 31st, will have access to food and city services to find permanent housing.
"The idea here is that the 10 year plan and the council have done a really good job at creating pathways to housing for our homeless community," May said. "We want to make sure that people are being connected with those resources."
Pastor Russ May and Anthony’s Plot community co-founder said the overflow shelter is part of a big initiative with the city to end homelessness and connect with the homeless community.
There are about 500 men and women who seek shelter each night, according to United Way Statistics. About 60 to 100 people often go unsheltered because of overcrowding.
"We want to involve our city in meeting the homeless and understanding what leads to homelessness," May said.
May said there is a large need for hundreds of volunteers to assist the homeless community with the overflow shelters. Those interested can contact the Winston-Salem Overflow Shelter at firstname.lastname@example.org