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Seminole County Emergency Management activates extreme weather plan for cold temperatures

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Officials throughout Central Florida are working to open up shelters to keep people out of the cold as temperatures are expected to drop over the weekend.

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Flagler County officials announced plans to open a cold weather shelter Friday at the Rock Transformation Center on State Street. The shelter will close Saturday morning but opens again at 5 p.m. Saturday evening.

Brevard County leaders also announced plans to open a shelter Friday evening at LifePointe Ministries on South Hopkins Avenue in Titusville.

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In Seminole County, a shelter will also be open Friday in Sanford for people who need to escape the cold.

Emergency Management officials activated the county’s extreme weather plan for the cold as temperatures are forecast to dip into the low 40s over the weekend.

The Emergency Management Agency began preparing the Rescue Outreach Mission in Sanford with everything they’ll need to accommodate those who need a warm place to stay for the night.

Belinda Halloway is one of those people. She says she never expected to be homeless. Halloway says she retired to take care of her niece and late mother.

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“And so it ended up I had no money,” Halloway said.

Now, Halloway says she’ll be calling the Outreach Mission of Sanford home until she can get back on her feet. But with the temperatures dropping this weekend, she says the cold weather is hard on those without a home.

“That’s really hard,” Halloway said. “And the biggest thing, if you don’t have a home, is finding a place to lay down and sleep. There’s not a lot of safe places.”

To help those who need an escape from the cold temperatures, Seminole County Emergency Management officials began loading up cots, blankets and other supplies to prepare the mission for more people this weekend.

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“We’ll have anywhere from an extra 10 to 20 folks come in out of the camps, depending on how long the cold weather lasts,” Rescue Outreach Mission Executive Director Chris Ham said.

There is also an emergency shelter trailer that can be used if room at the mission fills up, or if there is a major fire or electrical outage elsewhere in the county that prevents people from staying warm.

“We work with over 42 faith organizations and nonprofits to identify locations where they can be housed,” Harris said. “We have two or three that are on standby over the weekend in the event that we have to open them up.”

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.