RICHMOND, Va. — An abandoned courtroom is serving as a homeless shelter in Richmond.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that on a recent night about 40 men shifted uncomfortably in their seats in the dank courtroom in the basement of the Public Safety Building.

Mayor Levar Stoney’s office told the newspaper the city is working to secure a more suitable facility by next winter.

Formally, the city calls the facility its “Cold Weather Overflow Shelter.” It opens in the winter from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. when temperatures are forecast to drop below 40 degrees. It’s staffed by Commonwealth Catholic Charities and costs the city about $300,000 a year to operate. In theory, it’s a backup for when the city’s other better-equipped shelters are full, but the other shelters are nearly always full.

Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

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