No one knows how the homeless men living in crude camps will stay protected from the sleet and ice of the storm. "Almost anywhere there’s a wooded place in the city, you’ll see their makeshift tents. We know they’re there,” said Jesse Mercer, assistant director of Jesus House. No matter how much icy misery is expected, these homeless men can’t be persuaded to go to the shelters, said Dan Straughan, Homeless Alliance executive director. "Those guys are hardy and prepared for this kind of thing,” he said. When the 2007 ice storm destroyed trees and homes, the men’s camp sites were also destroyed. The campers were forced into the shelters on the third day of the storm. "If it gets really, really bad and you decide to take yourself to a shelter, imagine how will you get there, slogging 10 or 12 blocks through the ice to the shelter?” Straughan said. If the storm gets severe enough, the campers will likely end up at Jesus House, he predicted. They are uncomfortable in crowds often due to post traumatic stress syndrome or mental illness and are difficult to handle, he said. Like the men in homeless camps, the abused or medically compromised elderly presented concerns as the ice storm raced into Oklahoma. An elderly woman just out of the hospital after being beaten by a relative joined elderly people Thursday at the Sunbeam Family Services emergency shelter. The shelter is a place of warmth, emotional and physical, in the storm, Bernie Garrison said. "They’re doing real good. We’re nice and warm,” he said. "We’ve got backup generators if we lose power and if it gets too cold, we’ll get them to a motel.” Garrison gives back to Sunbeam because the service at 609 NW 20 helped him when he suffered a stroke. He does a little of everything there. He wanted to stay through the storm with the group of abused, special needs, medically compromised or homeless elderly so other workers could go home early to be with their families. About 20 more people came into the City Rescue Mission at 800 W California Ave. by evening Thursday, said Tiffany Webb, director of development. "But the men’s shelter manager said the night is young. We expect more,” Webb said. The city’s largest shelter, City Rescue Mission, averages 442 people per night, but the shelter is ready for the crowds with 640 beds and 250 mats. The Oklahoma City Salvation Army shelter west of downtown took in several Thursday and is ready for more, said Heide Brandes, Salvation Army spokeswoman. The shelter is prepared for anyone who needs a warm, dry place to stay. It has extra supplies of padded mats, blankets, cots and food, she said. "Anyone who needs shelter should come out,” she said. "There’s no reason to be out in this.” The Salvation Army has a men’s lodge at 330 SW 4 and women’s and family lodge at 516 S Hudson. Dinner is served about 4:30 p.m., Brandes said. Brandes said Salvation Army workers will help city officials if there are power outages. Red Cross shelters are on standby, said spokeswoman Kyla Rapp. She said if there are many lengthy power outages or a community needs to shelter residents, they can be opened.
Carnegie: Carnegie Elementary School, 202 West Fourth St. Duncan : Fairgrounds, 1616 S 13th St. Holdenville : Senior center, 124 N Creek Lawton : Cameron Baptist Church, 2621 SW C Ave. Mangum : The Church of New Beginnings, 408 S Louis Tittle Newcastle : Storm shelter, 801 N Carr Altus : Community center, 401 Falcon Road Chickasha : Fairgrounds, 500 E Choctaw Hollis : Civic center, 208 W Jones The Salvation Army reports its Oklahoma City shelter location is near capacity. All additional guests will be placed on cots and mats.
El Dorado : El Dorado School, 116 N Seventh
Hobart : First Methodist Church, 201 S Washington McAlester : Salvation Army Office, 400 N A St. Woodward : Woodward American Red Cross Chapter, 1209 Ninth St. A warming center is capable of turning into a shelter at any time if officials determine a need for overnight sheltering. SOURCE: OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT