Roanoke Rescue Mission raises white flag, opens doors to all during winter storm

All welcome to stay, even if they've been previously banned

By Rachel Lucas - Anchor / Reporter
Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved

ROANOKE - Cold temperatures and expected snowfall have prompted the Roanoke Rescue Mission to raise its white flag, signaling open doors to anyone who needs a safe, warm place to stay.

According to Tracy Altizer, chief development officer, the shelter's weather policy states that in the event of inclement weather during the winter months which is defined as 48 degrees with precipitation or 42 degrees or less with no precipitation- all guests are invited in for safe shelter at night.  This includes those who have been suspended for behaviors or other noncompliance. 

“Safety for all is the No. 1 priority,” Altizer said.

In addition to the Rescue Mission, the Day Shelter will operate at the discretion of the shelter managers. Altizer said if the RAM House stays open, it often provide transportation for guests to go there if staff are able to safely do so, depending on driving conditions. Decisions about whether the Roanoke Rescue Mission provides day shelter are made after an evaluation of conditions at the time. 

The organization is also seeking volunteers during the storm. “We do ask that people who have four-wheel drive vehicles who feel they can get here safely consider coming in to volunteer,” Altizer said.  “We usually lose many of our scheduled volunteers due to road conditions.” More than 200 people are fed at each meal every day. Altizer said the shelter depends on the help of volunteers to keep that operation going.

Copyright 2019 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.