Salvation Army Preparing For Influx

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DALLAS (CBS11) – With the first cold weekend of the season coming, homeless shelters are expecting a wave of visitors seeking warmth.

The Salvation Army’s Carr P. Collins Center in Dallas is getting ready.

Homelessness is a problem Dallas leaders say is at an all-time high.

Demarco Thompson has been living on the streets for the last few months and he knows it’s going to get a lot harder starting this weekend.

“I know it’s going to be cold, so I just got to really stay somewhere warm, you know, try to ride the trains at least ’til they stop. That’s really all I can come up with,” Thompson said.

Mayor Mike Rawlings highlighted the city’s homeless problem when he helped start off this season’s Salvation Army Red Kettle drive.

“It is my honor to put the first dollar. In fact I’m going to put the first four dollars. The first four dollars and a penny, everything in my pockets, okay,” Rawlings said.

The mayor urged everyone to donate this season as the city’s homeless population continues to grow.

“It’s a city where there’s opportunity, but when people trip and fall, there’s a lot of needs, so our homeless population is bigger than ever,” Rawlings said.

At the Salvation Army’s shelter, every bed will be taken, so workers have extra mats on standby to fill the gym floor to take in more people trying to stay warm this weekend.

“People are going to be surprised by how the temperatures drop so quickly,” the center’s Executive Director Blake Fetterman said.

Even as many homeless try to rough it outside, Thompson tells CBS11 he knows there’s a breaking point.

“When in that position in that weather condition, you’re going to see everybody coming around,” Thompson said.

The Carr P. Collins Center normally opens at 3:00 p.m., but the executive director said starting Saturday people will be able to come in any time to get out of the cold.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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