‘You can always stay here,’ Homeless shelter looking to fill beds as temperatures drop

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the temperatures starting to drop, we’re all ready to head indoors. But, not everyone has that option.

Now that the eviction moratorium has ended, there may be even more people on the streets in the coming months.

John Moment is no stranger to homeless shelters. With no permanent home, he’s shuffled between several.

Recently, he turned to the Hospitality Hub on Washington Ave. for help.

“They’re helping me get myself together,” he said.

With the help of shelter officials, he’s hoping to land a new job and get his own apartment before winter sets in.

As temperatures drop, executive director of the Hospitality Hub Kelcey Johnson said getting people off the streets is crucial.

“My concern is that every winter, we have clients that die out here,” he said. “I’ve been here 10 years and every winter we have at least one person that dies out here.”

Johnson said shelter beds are widely available across the city, but he’s concerned people experiencing homelessness are staying away because of vaccine requirements at some shelters.

“The barrier to people right now is almost all the men’s shelters and women’s shelters if you’re not vaccinated you can’t come in,” he said.

He said a vaccine is not required to stay at the Hospitality Hub, and residents are tested for COVID daily.

They also offer studio apartments for people who don’t want to stay in a congregate setting.

“If you find yourself on the street and don’t know where to go, you can always start here,” he said.

As for Moment, he wants to encourage people who may be struggling to take the leap and get help.

“Go to the hub, the hub will help you,” he said. “But you’ve got to be willing to help yourself for them to help you.”

Chere Bradshaw with the Community Alliance for the Homeless said, when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, the Memphis Union Mission lets people stay free of charge.  She said they also work with the city and different shelters to open warming centers.