Tulsa Shelters Fill As Frigid Temps Hit
TULSA, Oklahoma - There are lines out the door for homeless shelters due to the frigid temperatures.
Reverend Steve Whitaker says they are doing everything they can at John 3:16 to get people out of the cold.
Reporter Amy Kauffman: “Did you ever think you'd be in a place like this?"
Tony Mosteller: "No, I didn’t. But, you never know."
Mosteller is a lifetime coal welder who recently fell on hard times. Now, he's just hoping to have a warm place to sleep even though the shelter is already at capacity.
“We've got 150 beds at John 3:16 and we anticipate being in full overload tonight,” said Whitaker. “It's hard to say how many we will see tonight.”
Usually, they only let 20 people sleep in their lobby, but over 100 people were just hoping to stay warm.
“It's just cold enough outside that we will do whatever we need to do to make sure everyone has a place to sleep,” said Whitaker.
Reverend Steve Whitaker says they've been in overload status for the past few days, and they've been putting mats out everywhere they can because the cold can be so dangerous.
“Even if they are coming in and warming up occasionally, you see a loss in acuity, ability to think and process, physical abilities, and then over a period of time, you just know they need to get help pretty quick,” Whitaker explained.
Reverend Whitaker says if you see someone who may be stumbling tonight, they probably need help.
“Please, don’t assume that they are inebriated or otherwise high,” said Whitaker. “Let's assume tonight at least that they are suffering from exposure and call for help for them.”
Mosteller says there are a lot of people out there who don't seek help in these cold temperatures, but there are plenty of resources available.
“You can't sit back and think they are going to do everything for you,” he said. “You’ve got to be motivated.”
Whitaker added, “This is really an all hands on deck moment at John 3:16, and we are going to pull out all the stops to make sure everyone gets taken care of.”
John 3:16 and Salvation Army are both open 24 hours if you need to get out of the cold.
If you see someone out who may need help, please pick up the phone and call.