LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Christmas weekend will be a freezing one in Central Arkansas, and while many will be enjoying their homes and heating, some don’t have a place of their own to keep warm.
By 5:00 p.m. on Thursday it will feel like it is in the lower 20s, and by 9:00 p.m. temperatures will feel like below zero. That is why there is a mission in the metro area to ensure no one has to be outside in that weather.
Provided below is shelter information for Little Rock, North Little Rock, Benton, and Jacksonville.
People needing a warm place to stay can call 501-955-3444 and a driver will pick them up, free of charge, to be transported to the East Little Rock Community Center (warming shelter). Pets are welcome.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK
Riverhouse: 120 Riverfront Park Dr, NLR 72114. The warming shelter is open Thursday, December 22 from 4 pm through Monday, December 26 at 8 am. Pets are welcome, food and water are provided, and no ID is required. No one intoxicated will be allowed.
The location will be 1212 West South Street in the Church of Helping Hands and Caring Hearts/Outsi the Walls Ministry Building. Warming Center will be open 24/7 beginning Thursday evening at 5:00 P through Monday Morning. No alcohol, no drugs allowed. Pets are welcome. For more information, please call 501-776-1512.
1st Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall: 1208 West Main (entrance is on Crestview Dr). The entrance is on the Northwest end, with metal doors (not glass doors). The doors will be locked, knock for entry. The warming shelter is open from 6 pm through 8 am on Thursday, December 22 through Saturday, December 2. Snacks and sandwiches will be provided. They will have some cots, mats, and blankets.
“The problem with weather like this is that where those people stay is now a danger to their health. It’s a danger to their life,” The Van volunteer Caleb Alexander-McKinzie explained.
When cold weather threatens the lives of unsheltered Arkansans, The Van mobilizes. While the nonprofit normally delivers necessities to the streets like clothes, blankets, tarps, towels, tents, etc., Thursday volunteers will be shuttling anyone who needs them to an emergency shelter at the East Little Rock Community Center starting at 3:00 p.m, right when freezing rain may be transitioning into sleet.
“I was afraid that there was going to be no warming centers when it got so cold. Like I’ve been homeless for seven years,” Robert Smith shared.
Smith said he’s seen people lose limbs to frostbite and known others who died to cold weather before. A place provided by the City of Little Rock and The Van is something he said is very thankful for.
“Without y’all we’ll be out here freezing, man, and it just warms my heart that people are out here trying to help us because there have been times where I thought people didn’t care,” Smith stated
He and his friends on the street have been kicked out of places like hospitals when seeking warmth before.
William Mott, who also lives on the streets of Little Rock, said he is also thankful for the emergency centers.
“Without the communities and resources here in Little Rock, I guess I wouldn’t know what I would do,” Mott said.
Alexander-McKinzie said there will be room for over 100 inside its emergency shelter. He and other volunteers on Christmas weekend said they will keep shelters open until the temperatures are safe.
“I don’t want to wake up to the news that somebody has passed away because they didn’t know they had a better option. We’ve had that happen before, and it’s heartbreaking,” Caleb expressed. “Time is the greatest gift that I have to give, so all The Van’s volunteers are happy to give it.”