Officials: 500 people stayed at warming station Tuesday night

Officials: 500 people stayed at warming station Tuesday night

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People file into the Boutwell Auditorium Wednesday night to stay at the warming station. Source: WBRC video People file into the Boutwell Auditorium Wednesday night to stay at the warming station. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

City officials say they saw a record number of people seeking shelter at Boutwell auditorium last night and they expect the demand to continue.

This is the third straight cold week, so the city has kept the warming station open. Don Lupo with the mayor's office tells FOX6 that last night was the busiest he's seen the auditorium in years. Tonight, that may not be the case but that could all change this weekend.

For the third week in a row organizers are preparing Boutwell auditorium for the plethora of people coming in escaping the cold weather elements. From socks to warm blankets people in need are taking full advantage of what is offered.

This is the fourth night Bill Basinger has stayed here and he may set up shop through the weekend as we prepare for a cold weekend.

"Freezing rain and snow when you're homeless…are like your normal enemies, they're really, really tough."

Basinger was among 500 other people who stayed here last night and Lupo says it's a record.

"Of all the years that we've done this last night was the biggest crowd we've ever had. We put down every blanket and every cot we had."

Lupo says about 300 cots were out and they were taking in anybody and everybody.

"I don't know if it was a full moon. I really don't know what happened last night but like, there were people who brought in people," Lupo said.

This is Justin Byrd's first time at the auditorium. He says he's grateful to have a warm place to stay as just last week he was sleeping outside.

"It's hard. I have to tell myself you know I can do it. I'll make it to the next day."

The city expects demand for the warming station to continue through the weekend.

It will open every night at six.

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