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Dangers of cold weather hit homeless shelters

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) -You’re probably trying to stay indoors to escape those cold temperatures, but for hundreds of people in Salt Lake, that’s a luxury. And many plan to escape in the warm walls of a homeless shelter.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)- You’re probably trying to stay indoors to escape those cold temperatures, but for hundreds of people in Salt Lake, that’s a luxury.  And many plan to escape in the warm walls of a homeless shelter.

In just the past two weeks, two people have died from being frozen to death by being outside all night.  It’s a harsh reality that managers at area homeless shelters don’t want to happen.  Sleeping outside as temperatures continue to dip is a brutal fate that led one man to severe frostbite.

“The fingers are all gone on both hands, they're frozen off,” said Salt Lake’s David Latour.

David Latour says that’s what happened to his homeless friend.  To not experience the same fate, he’s staying at the Rescue Mission.

“You can see where a person could get themselves in a world of hurt out there,” said Latour.

Just down the road, the Road Home is full of homeless men, women, and families.  150 more people now that usual all looking to escape the cold.  Recent news of people being frozen to death after sleeping outside in the past two weeks, stirs these communities.

“I’ve heard the news myself where a couple of people didn't make it through the night. We're always encouraging people to come inside whether it’s here or the Road Home or the overflows. We definitely don’t want them to be outside in the cold,” said the Rescue Mission’s Don Hill.

Volunteers at the Road Home search for people who might plan to take their chances.

“We're reaching everyone we can so they know they have somewhere they can come,” said Road Home’s Michelle Flynn.

With 56 beds upstairs, the Rescue Mission’s chapel floor filled up with 50 more people, nearly doubling the usual numbers. Not just at night, the Rescue Mission’s stepped up efforts at all hours.

“We see a lot more people during the day. We'll open the day room and keep people inside and out of the cold,” said Hill.

So if you have extra blankets, gloves, or work boots, both shelters are asking for your donations.


Rescue Mission:

463 S. 400 West

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

 

Road Home:

210 S. Rio Grande Street

Salt Lake City, UT 84101


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