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Group plans to open winter shelter for the homeless in Petersburg: 'It’s amazing'

Person: 'It’s amazing. [We] don’t want to see nobody out in the cold'
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Posted at 3:36 PM, Jan 26, 2023

PETERSBURG, Va. – An ambitious grassroots effort is underway to open a winter shelter for the homeless in Petersburg in less than two weeks.

Pat Hines, who heads up the Petersburg Center For Development, said a building on 22 North South Street is being redesigned as an overnight shelter to keep people “out of the cold this winter.”

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While the building was donated by city council member Marlow Jones, phone calls wrangled up many willing to donate their talents.

Electrician Jerry Person, who is working on the heat, said he knows his job is crucial since the building needs to be warm “to make sure nobody is cold.”

Person also said he also knows the shelter is needed because he has seen people walking the streets with no place to go.

Jerry Person
Jerry Person

Contractor Shaundrick White said he will install a custom shower and a tankless hot water tank in the building.

Well into winter, Hines said her group only learned that the city “had nothing for our un-sheltered population” in mid-December.

WTVR CBS 6 highlighted a grassroots effort in December to open a private shelter for a few dayswhen temperatures dropped down into the single digits.

Now this private effort to help the homeless is underway because “someone has to step up to the plate,” White said.

 Shaundrick White
Shaundrick White

Hines said that many across the city, including the faith-based and the nonprofit community in Petersburg, “have really stepped up and answered the call” to make the shelter a reality.

With the skilled labor donated, other donations include cots, sheets, blankets and cleaning supplies.

Financial donations are also being used for operating expenses like utilities and staff.

Hines said those paid staffers will manage the shelter overnight.

“It’s going to run from 6 p.m. in the evening to 7 a.m. the following morning,” Hines said.

Pat Hines

However, to curb expenses, Hines said a number of volunteers have signed up to work in the shelter from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

There are also volunteers who will provide food.

Officials want to use the space as efficiently as possible. As a result, Hines said they will first host a maximum of 10 people.

“We’re trying to just run an efficient and safe place for our unsheltered to come,” Hines explained.

Hines expects the shelter to open by Tuesday, Feb. 7 as transformation of the building is expected to move quickly.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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