Getting answers about Cobb County's shelter shortage | News
MARIETTA, Ga -- For the second freezing night in a row, people will be turned away from Cobb County’s warming shelter.
Must Ministries is at capacity again. It’s staffed all season for nights like this. Other shelters are temporary and struggle to open quickly.
“It’s heartbreaking when you see the need and it can’t be filled,” explained one staff member.
Every one of their cots will be filled, mostly by children. It’s staffed to open as soon as the temperature drops below 32 degrees.
However other Cobb County shelters pop up as needed. They are often inside churches, run by volunteers who must get the facility up to code to house dozens of people over night. The problem? Too often they don’t know how to get up to code.
We got insight into the challenge of that from the Cobb County fire chief, who explained a new plan launched to streamline this process.
“We want to set up some guidelines so that they know what they are going to do when it gets cold and how they’re going to operate and we do too,” explained chief Jay Westbrook.
The guidelines could speed up the process of opening a temporary shelter.
“Get an inspector out there to verify this is what they are doing, this is approved and everything is good to go,” he said.
Westbrook says he’s worked with three churches so far to set up those guidelines. He says most temporary shelters only open when it stays near freezing around the clock.