Organizations hoping to save lives on frigid Friday night

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With temperatures dipping into the low 20s Friday night, groups in our area are dedicating resources to help people experiencing homelessness — and also hope to help save their lives.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel spoke to local organizations offering the less fortunate neighbors a place to stay. One group is even taking new steps to help keep them warm.

“The Foyer” is Volunteer Ministry Center’s newest program. It’s a low barrier, housing-focused shelter, keeping up to 40 people out of the elements at night.

“We do not want anyone to die on the streets, we want them to come in where it is warm and it is safe,” said Mary Beth Ramey, VMC’s Chief Development Officer.

VMC puts up its white flag and opens its doors for people to come inside during days dipping 32 degrees and below, but the Foyer is now a new opportunity to provide those referred by a street outreach worker safety and warmth at night.

It’s a move Ramey calls life-changing.

“Without a doubt, it has saved lives,” she said.

Some are taking advantage.

“It’s a safe haven, and it’s a place I can get in and out of the cold,” one woman told us.

Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) is also providing relief.

“People can die, and we don’t want that to happen,” said Karen Bowdle with KARM.

KARM allows people to come inside their chapel on days where it feels like it’s freezing or colder, keeping their white flag up both during the day and at night.

“As you can imagine on these cold nights, we are pretty close to capacity. We never turn anyone away,” Bowdle said.

Both organizations are aiming to help protect and save some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Volunteer Ministry Center has an ongoing project where you can sponsor a bed at the Foyer. For more information, click here.


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