DECATUR — Social service agency Decatur Macon County Opportunities Corp. will provide up to 25 beds for homeless men during the extreme cold weather. The new service meets a need created when the Decatur Salvation Army, 229 W. Main St., closed a similar program for the season.
Kyle Karsten, Salvation Army director of development and community relations, said they budgeted the 20-25 cold cot beds to end Feb. 23, but extended the service for three weeks.
The goal of the service is to keep homeless men out of dangerous cold weather, but staff felt the cold cots were not needed as desperately in March as they were in the frigid temperatures of January and February. Karsten said the number of men utilizing the beds have dwindled to seven, versus the near capacity they had weeks ago. The staff decided to meet the homeless needs with other services.
If it does drop below 40 degrees, DMCOC will activate its shelter.
“Our intention was to fill that gap,” said Tara Murray, executive director of the nonprofit organization at 1122 E. Marietta St.
“We will make the call every day,” Murray said.
Thirty Salvation Army beds available all year are part of the transitional men’s shelter and will remain in service.
Macon County had 161 homeless people in January 2018, according to a survey conducted by area social service agencies. In 2017, the count showed 130 homeless people, and in 2016 there were 157.