Winter Blast: Area shelters operating on Code Purple, asking for blanket donations

Local Buncombe County shelters are operating under a Code Purple and encouraging folks to take refuge from the bitter temperatures. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Local Buncombe County shelters are operating under a Code Purple and encouraging folks to take refuge from the bitter temperatures.

Shelters tell News 13 they see about a 45-percent increase in people using the shelter when they're under a code purple. They say there have been more cold days earlier in the season, creating a big strain on resources, since they have so many people using the shelter.

But they say what they do is extremely important, particularly on freezing days like today.

"We are serving the most vulnerable, those that don't have any resources, so if we're not here people are going to die and we know that," says WNC Rescue Mission Executive Director Michael Woods.

They are open 24 hours a day, and everyone is welcome.

Salvation Army is asking for blanket donations because of the Code Purple, you can donate at 204 Haywood Street.

About Code Purple

Asheville area shelters are offering emergency cold weather services to people who are currently experiencing homelessness and would not otherwise have a safe, warm place to stay.

To minimize risk to people in Asheville and Buncombe County, when the temperature falls below 32 degrees (or the equivalent with the wind chill factor) area shelters will designate a CODE PURPLE. Persons experiencing homelessness will have the opportunity to come inside and warm up during the day, even if a shelter would typically be closed.

Extra floor, cot, and bed space will be available at overnight shelters to ensure that no one has to stay outside. Shelters are encouraging emergency workers and police to urge people outside at night to come inside.

Children ages 0-6 with a sibling up to age 10 can be placed in an Angels Watch home free of charge. Parents or shelters can contact 828-775-0837 for immediate child placement.

To avoid confusion at the shelter door, law enforcement officers and those making shelter referrals should check the client’s sex offender status and call the shelter to make sure an individual is not banned from their facility and that overflow space remains available.

Shelters hosting children are not able to host registered sex offenders.

Shelters offering CODE PURPLE services include:

ABCCM Veteran’s Restoration Quarters
1329 Tunnel Road Asheville, NC 28805
Men only seeking shelter can access the Veteran’s Quarters emergency shelter starting at 4 p.m. The shelter will accommodate additional homeless individuals in a separate classroom building.

Salvation Army
204 Haywood Street, Asheville NC, 28801
People can come to the agency for overnight emergency shelter services starting at 8 p.m. The Salvation Army will offer overflow spaces through the use of cots, mats, and blankets.

Steadfast House
20 20th St, Asheville, NC 28806
This is for single women, mothers with children and female veterans.

Western Carolina Rescue Ministries
225 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801

The above organizations and others in the community will be offering other services to assist persons experiencing homelessness throughout the cold winter months.

The Homeless Coalition meets at 12:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month. To learn more, contact co-chair Tracey Childers at

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