With a major winter storm on the way for Thursday and another round of brutal Artic air overtaking the region this weekend, the temporary warming shelter in Rochester has re-located and is now open to anyone needing relief or assistance from the impending storm.
Part of the Rochester Community Center was converted into a 24-hour warming station last weekend. SOS Recovery Community Organization Director John Burns, who together with Tri-City Co-op opened the shelter, says they're averaging about 40 occupants each night.
"We saw there was an immediate need to keep this open longer because the cold weather looks like it will be here for a while," he told Mike Pomp on 98.1 WTSN's "Morning Information Center" on Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday afternoon, the City of Rochester along with New Hampshire Emergency Management made the decision to move the warming shelter to the National Guard Armory on Brock Street in Rochester. The shelter is now the regional shelter for Strafford County and is open to anyone, regardless of their current living situation.
Burns said he was very appreciative for the voluteers who signed up to help staff the shelter the last few days, and to the groups and businesses who've donated food and supplies.
The warming shelter plans to stay open 24 hours a day for the forseeable future, and they're still in need of warm clothing, food, and volunteers to spend a few hours manning the shelter.
Burns said they're asking for businesses and landlords to help the homeless and veterans get into a more stable situation by providing affordable housing and auto repair.
"It's great that we're doing this now but this is just a band aid,"he said. "We're desperately trying to find them in long term solutions. And they really appreciate anything someone does for them. The gratitude they show is remarkable."
Additional volunteers are needed for the duration of the shelter. You can use the updated sign up genius here or call (978) 378-5094