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Heat, wildfires help fill Norman homeless shelters

Officials at Norman's nonprofit agencies say they are seeing a dramatic increase in homeless families seeking relief from the heat or after losing their homes in wildfires.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: August 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm •  Published: August 7, 2012

United Way of Norman has released $5,000 in emergency funds to help with a dramatic increase in homeless families seeking assistance.

Extreme temperatures are forcing many inside, and the need has only worsened because of families displaced by wildfires, officials said.

The Salvation Army shelter is at capacity, and officials with Food and Shelter, which provides housing and/or meals for the homeless, say their budget has been stretched to the limits because they are providing motel rooms for some of the families.

“We've had families call churches and other agencies to try to find a place to stay,” said Food and Shelter Executive Director April Doshier. “But many of these families had nowhere else to go, so motels were the only option. That gets very expensive.”

Kristen Martin, with the Salvation Army, said the Norman shelter is sleeping up to 40 people every night. The shelter, which normally closes during the day, is being kept open around the clock because of the extreme heat, she said.

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by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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The following “cooling off stations” are available to people trying to escape the heat during the day.

Food and Shelter, 104 Comanche St., 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Little Axe Community Center, 1000 168th SE, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rose Rock Community Center, 700 Berry Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Salvation Army of Norman, 318 E Hayes St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sooner Mall, 3301 W Main St., 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Norman Public Library, 225 N Webster Ave., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


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