PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk’s Emergency Shelter Team, or NEST, reported one of its highest numbers ever Monday night — and that’s before the real cold snap starts. The program hosted 153 homeless men and women.
“We’re seeing more younger people than we used to see when I first started 5 years ago and we’re seeing more women than we used to see,” Nest chair, Anne O’Dell told 10 On Your Side.
Portsmouth is seeing younger folks too, like Daiqua Banks and Teeah Smith. The couple has been living in a tent behind some trees. They’re also expecting a baby.
“I don’t really care about myself at the moment cause — I care about myself, but with her being pregnant I don’t really want her outside, so I have to do what I have to do as a man,” Banks told WAVY.com.
On Tuesday, that meant a hot lunch at Oasis Social Ministry. Executive director Joanne Roisen said Oasis is keeping its doors open longer this week. “We will be open and stay open until 5:30 (or 6 p.m.) when they would have to leave to walk to shelter.”
The shelter in Portsmouth can take in about 40, but they are prepared to house more if needed.
Same goes for Norfolk said O’Dell. “So if we have too many people for our capacity the city will open the lobby of one of their buildings and let the people come in overnight.”
The cold snap might actually expose more of the homeless to services offered by many shelters.
Banks said he is already working with a case worker on a plan for his family’s future. “Out of the streets and into a place and you know, live a better life.”
The shelters say they have supplies but could always use more hats, socks and gloves — things that tend to get lost on the streets.
If you would like to donate or volunteer you may contact each city’s homeless program individually.
Norfolk Nest: 757-648-8842
Portsmouth volunteers for the homeless: 757-399-0200
Oasis Social Ministry: (757) 397-6060