Local shelters brace for bitter cold, “extreme overflow” expected


CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dangerously cold temperatures have forced some across Charlotte to take extreme measures to stay warm.

The familiar sights and sounds of frigid weather have returned across Charlotte. In the NODA neighborhood the cold temperatures pushed street artists back inside on Sunday.

At Freedom Park water is still flowing freely, despite below freezing temperatures. The park was also still packed like a typical Sunday afternoon, but with one big difference, nearly everyone was bundled up.

“I got my ear muffs on, my hat and my sweatshirt,” said Paul Johnson.

Some decided to brave the below freezing temperatures in their workout clothes, complete with shorts and a t-shirt.

“Lovely day. Can’t go wrong with it,” said Max Bonaker.

For Bonaker, this was his first winter in Charlotte after moving from Northern England.

“This is like summer for us, that’s why I am in shorts,” said Bonaker.

Not everyone is equipped to handle extremely cold weather. The homeless population is among the most vulnerable. At the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, they are in what they call “extreme overflow mode”. That means they are bringing in everyone they can off the streets. Something they started doing after a tragedy in 1981.

“There were 3 men who died due to the cold and frigid conditions,” said Randall Hitt from the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte.

This weekend alone the shelter has helped more than 250 men off the street. Many of those men are seeking shelter after living months without basic necessities.

“Sometimes they have gloves, sometimes they have jackets and sometimes they just have layers of clothes so what we try to do for each man that comes in is see what do they need,” said Hitt.

More hats, gloves and coats are expected to be handed out as cold temperatures continue this week.

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