Leroy Thomas (third from left) says the Atlanta police told the people staying on Bell Street in Atlanta under the downtown connector sleeping overnight that they would all need to be cleared and out of the area by this Saturday because of the Super Bowl. With forecasters warning of dangerous cold ahead this winter, the homeless population are vulnerable in the metro Atlanta area. A local organization has opened a shelter for 18- to 25-year-olds through the Super Bowl. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Youth shelter open for homeless through Super Bowl weekend

Weekend temperatures won’t dip below freezing, but a local homelessness group will open a warming shelter this weekend to keep people off the streets while the Super Bowl is in town.

Living Room, which primarily offers emergency housing for those with HIV and AIDS, will open a shelter specifically for 18- to 25-year-olds. In a statement, the group said earlier winter weather and the influx of visitors due to the Super Bowl made it more urgent to have a space. The shelter opened Jan. 20, and will be open through Monday.

“We wanted to make sure we were opened even if it was 35 degrees,” said Gregory McKelvey, Living Room’s director of communications and advocacy. “It’s sort of dangerous to be outside right now.”

McKelvey said he wanted to ensure there was somewhere for people to go through Super Bowl weekend. Homeless advocates have expressed concern that with a large police presence, homeless people would be arrested for low-level crimes to get them off the street.

Through Friday, the warming center had served 214 people, the organization said.

“The ongoing success of this warming shelter is indicative of both the need for spaces like this to exist and the desire of the community to make it a reality,” community advocate Alvin Huntspon said in a statement.

The shelter is open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. and is located in Candler Park in Atlanta. To refer someone to the center, call 404-823-3157. To volunteer, call 770-680-1556.

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