Record numbers of homeless persons huddled inside Washington area shelters this frigid weekend with the largest group, 1,014, crowded into the downtown shelter run by the Community for Creative Non-Violence.
Mitch Snyder, the director of the CCNV-operated shelter, said some of the homeless "slept on the floor . . . . We ran out of cots."
Snyder said the Reagan administration plans to close the federally owned facility by April 30, and if so, "one thousand people would be thrown out . . . . The numbers aren't going to all of a sudden go down." Synder said that even on warmer nights there will be a dire need for the shelter.
Before Friday night, when the temperature dropped to 14 degrees, the shelter had never held 1,000 people, CCNV staff members said.
Appearing wan and weary on his 25th day of fasting, Snyder is in his second attempt to force President Reagan to remodel the dilapidated building.
In 1984, Reagan promised Snyder on the 51st day of a hunger strike that the federal government would turn the shelter into a model facility, but later the Reagan administration reversed that decision, saying it was a safety hazard and instead opening a temporary shelter in Anacostia.
In December federal officials said they intended to evict residents of the shelter, but Reagan intervened personally, blocking that move. Snyder said he was told at that time that the shelter would be closed in the spring.
White House officials had not responded to a reporter's calls early last night.
"Once again, I ask the president to stop the madness . . . . He's going to throw these people on the street."
The Anacostia shelter, also scheduled to close April 30, turned dozens away Friday night because it had reached its limit of 500, shelter workers said.