Homeless Shelters Fill Up as Cold Weather Hits

With colder temperatures now upon us, more people are turning to homeless shelters, and that puts stress on those facilities.

The shelters say their numbers are up, and with the cold temperatures, one major need they have is any kind of materials that will keep people warm.

"The blanket situation is the main problem that we have," said Rafael Ortiz, program director at the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission. "Being that if they leave, if they choose not to stay another night, we let them take the blanket with them, so that way they can at least be warm while they're out there on the street."

Ortiz said that, at the Good Samaritan, they are housing a population of 20-percent above average. Usually they have 160-170 people stay a night, but on Tuesday night they slept over 200 people. Their men bunks are completely full.

However, they still do not turn anyone away. What they do is they give them a safe place to sleep in the lobby, and turn that into a makeshift dorm.

Meanwhile, over at the Mother Teresa Shelter, Sister Rose said way more people showed up this year to be served for the Christmas meal, as the line stretched across the street.

"Surprise to me. It was scary, because I don't know if it's enough food, but thank God they bring a lot of food, so we serve around 350 to 400 people, so more than 200 people than last year," Sister Rose said. "So that's a lot of people, and also a lot of kids this year."

Sister Rose attributes the rise of the people in need to a bad economy, and Sister Rose said that whenever you have cold weather outside, the shelter is packed, and the shelter is always in need of paper goods, like paper plates, napkins, toilet paper and as well as coffee, cream and sugar, in order to be able to serve the people that are in need.

Good Sam said that, of the 115 men that are sleeping there, half of them are in need of jackets, or even sweaters. They are also in need of socks, and anything that will keep them warm in the cold weather.

A lot of people go to the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission wearing t-shirts.


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