Two recent cold snaps have local homeless shelters taking in people in large numbers, and an effort is now underway to report just how many homeless are in the Triangle.
"I thank God for the mission. I really do. I probably would have froze to death out there in that weather," said Antione Harris. Harris has been homeless for 8 years on and off and stayed at the Durham Rescue Mission Thursday night.
In all, 463 people turned to the Durham Rescue Mission for shelter Wednesday night. That number is up 91 people from the same time last year.
Rev. Ernie Mills of the Durham Rescue Mission said 32 men slept on the floor because the mission ran out of beds.
Shelters in Durham are keeping track of the number of people in their facilities to help them plan for future growth.
The numbers from shelters like the rescue mission will be compiled in local areas and released in the coming weeks.
Keeping count is a federal requirement for communities that receive funding for the homeless population.
Each year, shelters count those who stay at their facilities. Every other year, those who remain on the street are counted.
Durham did not send people out to count the unsheltered population last night because of the extreme cold.
Wake County will start counting Thursday through Friday morning morning.
The Durham Rescue Mission said it already owns land where a new facility will be built. Two buildings will be razed to make way for three new buildings at a cost of $3 million.
"We do not break ground until we have the money in hand," Mills said.