"We're kind of the only open shelter just accepting folks to come in, not the only one, but almost the only one, along the whole Gulf Coast," says Capt. Andy Collette of the Salvation Army.
Katrina destroyed the Salvation Army Shelter in Gulfport and the Biloxi facility. And almost every night since the storm, all of the beds at the Salvation Army in Jackson County have been filled. Friday night, even more people walked through the doors, seeking shelter from the cold.
"So far tonight, I've been informed that we already have a few people that weren't here last night. Last night we were full. We had men and women on the floor. Women, of course, separated by the men. We always have more men than we have women, and that's just the way it is," Capt. Collette says.
Captain Collete believes as the temperature continues to drop over the weekend, even more people will seek refuge at the Jackson County Salvation Army.
"I pray, and I pray, that we won't turn any people away because we're out of space. We'll stack tables out of the way, we'll stack them outside, so that we have plenty of room on the floor for the people who would otherwise be outside. We're not going to purposely turn people away tonight, if we can help it," Capt. Collette says.
Captain Collette is hoping they'll soon be able to expand their shelter, and continue to keep everyone who seeks shelter from the cold under their roof.
"Right now, we're looking at it and saying is this a temporary kind of a condition or is it something we need long term. We know in the future we've got to have a bigger facility if we're going to continue to serve the number of people we're having," Capt. Collette said.