Wiregrass Newsroom: Dothan Homeless Shelter Feeling Space Crunch

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- Shelter volunteer Allen Raphael knows the feeling of losing it all.

"When I first came and stayed at the shelter I felt kinda bitter because I didn't have no place to go. I thought everybody was turning their back on me. I had lost my job," says Raphael.

Now, he's back on his feet, helping people who aren't find refuge at the Dothan Rescue Mission--a shelter struggling to meet a growing need.

"This time of year is our busiest time of year for the mission. We have a lot of people that come stay here because they got behind, couldn't pay their rent, lost a place to stay and right now they can't afford it," says Dothan Rescue Mission Executive Director, Brad Hardy.

A bed at the mission is hard to come by these days. The holiday season means more residents looking for a place to stay which is forcing volunteers to turn away about three people each night.

Right now the shelter can hold a maximum of about 35 people per night. But with proper funding, they're hoping to build a new facility that would increase that number to 65. That means they wouldn't have to turn anybody away for quite a while.

But with donations down, the facility's future hangs in the balance.

"We will not be able to operate if the funding doesn't increase," says Hardy.

But Raphael says he's optimistic everything will be ok.

"No matter how bad the problem may be, if you put your faith in God, everything will be alright. You can't lose.  You cannot lose."

Losing out is the last thing volunteers want for shelter visitors. Folks at the shelter are doing their part--providing meals and helping hands to everyone they can.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney