CHAPEL HILL – Inter-Faith Council executive director, John Dorward says the cold temperatures are only adding to the stress on your community’s homeless population.

“When the weather gets this cold, we see extra people,” Dorward says. “I haven’t looked at the official count at the shelters, but I know that we had additional women and additional men last night. Our attitude in weather like this is that we basically try not to turn anyone away; we try to take everybody who shows up at the door who wants to stay.”

Temperatures in the Triangle dropped to a record low for the day, January 7, at nine degrees.

Dorward says as the temperatures fall, the number of those in need increase.

“We’re going to have additional people who are going to need to be sleeping with us,” Dorward says. “We’ll have additional people that will come in to eat, to try to get a hot meal to help combat this. Then we’re going to see more people who maybe have a less-than-adequate heating unit wherever it is that they’re staying. They’re going to need help with that.”

One way Dorward says the IFC helps is by giving out heat sources at its Crisis Unit in Carrboro.

“We’ve been handing out a lot of heaters, blankets, coats, and all of those sorts of things to people who are trying to cope as much as they can with these cold temperatures,” Dorward says.

Dorward says little federal government funding is available for shelters anymore, so the organization has to turn to the community to ask for its help.

“We get help from all the local governments,” Dorward says. “Congregations and foundations, businesses, and individuals (all help us). Our funding comes from a variety of different sources, it’s just not very much of it coming from the government standpoint anymore.”

The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service’s community services, food pantry, and administrative offices are located at 110 West Main Street in Carrboro. The Community House men’s residential facility and community kitchen are in Chapel Hill at the corner of Columbia and Rosemary. The HomeStart residential facility for women and children is located at 2505 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

For more information about the IFC, click here.