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City's homeless population urged to seek higher ground

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- The pressure is on to help the Richmond area's most vulnerable: The city's homeless population.

Crisis coordinators teamed up on Wednesday with the Richmond Police Department’s Hope Unit to urge those living on the streets to seek higher ground, and even offered some of them a ride to shelter.

“Do you feel like you would be able to get out of the rain or wind if you needed to?”Taylor Garrett asked one man living on the corner or 17th and Broad streets.

Garrett is the Outreach Coordinator with Daily Health Planet Services.

She, along with two RPD officers, were checking area encampments along the James River and climbing under bridges in search of anyone in need of shelter.

"This is one of the encampments in the area,” Garrett explained, pointing to a tent community under the 14th Street Bridge in Manchester.

She offered those willing bus tickets to a shelter or to use to get to higher ground before the storm hits.

"Our main focus is making sure everybody has the option to be indoors, the option to be safe" -- Taylor Garrett.

577 people in the Greater Richmond area are believed to be homeless, according to a count conducted this summer by the non-profit Homeward.

Area shelters have been asked to expand capacity in this emergency and folks seem willing to accept a spot indoors.

Starting Thursday, Caritas has 15 extra beds for men.

If you know anyone who needs shelter there is a crisis line to call: 804-972-0813. If you have spotted anyone sleeping outdoors and want someone to check on them, just fill out this form and an outreach coordinator will be reached to conduct a welfare check.

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