CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sub-freezing temperatures are threatening to add to the misery of those living on the street and those less fortunate who are struggling to pay rent and electricity bills.
Among those sitting in the crowded lobby of Charlotte's Crisis Assistance Ministry was a young single mother whose first name is Whitney.
"I currently need assistance with my Duke Energy bill," she said, explaining that unexpected medical bills put her in a financial bind and she needed help for the first time.
“As a single mom its definitely a sigh of relief to know that there are organizations out here, who do what they can to assist in a time of need."
Crisis Assistance Ministry partners with Duke Energy and local gas companies and arranges payment to avoid shutoffs.
The organization can also negotiate with landlords to prevent evictions, and also offers free clothing, shoes, and coats to those who qualify.
In a statement issued earlier this week, Duke Energy said it will suspend power shutoffs, “when the estimated average temperature for the next 24 and 48 hours is forecasted by the National Weather Service to be below 32 degrees during a 24-hour period in a specific region.”
In Rock Hill, Renewing Our Community is another assistance center that is extending its hours to help those waiting to go into one of the city's two warming centers.
The centers, one for men and one for women open nightly at 6 p.m. The ROC is extending its hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm so they have less time to wait outside until the centers open.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Animal Care and Control is even offering two free bails of hay to anyone who has animals that must stay outside during the cold snap.