Homeless center: 'We're not going to leave anybody outside'

Buy Photo Tim Martin/The Day Card players Allen Taylor, right with only his hands in the photo, and Dennis Mills, second from right, both of New London, play a game of Spades at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center pass time and attempt to stay warm avoiding the extremely cold temperatures outside Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 23, 2013.

New London — The Homeless Hospitality Center, which opens for overnight guests around 6:30 p.m., was expecting a large crowd Wednesday evening as temperatures were expected to dip to the single digits or below.

Cathy Zall, the center’s executive director, said one night this week already brought 68 patrons seeking shelter from the cold to St. James Episcopal Church. The facility, at 76 Federal St., sleeps 50, she said, “but in this kind of cold weather, we don’t turn anybody away.”

“We’ll just do what we have to do,” she said Wednesday as the shelter prepared for visitors. “We’re not going to leave anybody outside.”

This week’s frigid temperatures bring attention to the homeless, but Zall said all winter long, those without shelter are at risk.

“Even if it’s 20 degrees out, being outside is not something that’s good,” she said. “We’ve been busy all the time.”

The National Weather Services predicted a low of 1 degree Wednesday night in New London, with wind chill values dipping to 8 degrees below zero.

Today’s forecasted high is around 20 degrees, with strong winds that could bring wind chills of 12 degrees below zero. Tonight’s forecast again predicts bitter cold weather, with the possibility of snow Friday.

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