Illinois

U.S. shelters see influx of homeless seeking help amid ‘life-threatening’ winterChicago

Burke Patten helps run the Night Ministry. Chicago A non-profit organization that supports 6,000 of Windy City’s 60,000 unprotected people each year. As a blistering cold snap from the Arctic sweeps across the United States, he knows it can be deadly for the city’s vulnerable homeless population.

“Unfortunately, it’s going to be very dangerous,” said Patten, communications manager for the Knight Ministry. “It’s cold. But it’s going to get worse.”

Proponents of policies that benefit the homeless and shelter operators across America say vast Arctic weather patterns sweep across the Great Plains and Great Lakes region, raising concerns about the safety of unprotected populations. We are seeing an influx of homeless people in need of food and shelter.

“I’m very worried. I know people die in situations like this,” Patten said. “It’s dangerous. I’m worried.” Night Ministry outreach teams visiting the camps found dwindling people in tents and on the streets, with unprotected people in the city seeking shelter with friends, hotels or shelters. It inspires hope that you are finding a place to stay in

More than 7,800 homeless people in the United States are estimated to have died in 2020, according to Homeless Deaths Count data. Quantifying the exact number of homeless deaths per year and their causes is difficult because of jurisdictional loopholes.

But the risks are unquestionable. hypothermia is an ever-present threat facing people experiencing homelessness. Even temperatures as low as 50F (10C) can occur when a person is submerged in cold water or weather-wet. As temperatures drop and snow falls, the risk of life-threatening hypothermia soars as the clothes that people without tents, sleeping bags and shelter need to stay warm get wet. The CDC reports that exposed people’s body temperature drops, their ability to move is reduced, and they can’t even cognitively comprehend that they are in mortal danger.

Many US cities open warming centers and emergency winter housing when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Buffalo is using Emergency Weather Safety Plan, Code Blue, to provide hot meals, shelter, transportation and medical care to the city’s homeless. Program coordinator Jean Bennett said this weekend qualifies for extreme weather events. increase.

“If they don’t want to leave in any circumstances, call the police. They are not making a good decision. This weather is deadly and they could die soon.” We don’t let them make that choice during extreme weather events.”

What distinguishes this week’s extreme weather events is the rapid onset of both cold and wind chill.

“This is not your average cold front as temperatures can drop by more than 20 degrees within hours,” the National Weather Service (NWS) warned Wednesday morning. Temperatures in the negative double digits are projected for much of the Great Plains and Great Lakes, areas where residents are accustomed to deep snow and cold. The NWS calls the weather on the northern plains “severely cold and life threatening.”

“We live in South Dakota and we know what we signed up for. We know it’s going to be extreme temperatures,” said Ellie Heckel, director of communications and marketing development at Union Gospel Mission Sioux Falls. said.

But this week, more people are coming to shelters and soup kitchens, needing a break from the cold, and even show up at chapels just to be in a warm indoor location, Haeckel said. Providing cots in shelters for emergency accommodation and more daytime Christmas activities to provide another option for escape from freezing temperatures in unsheltered areas of Sioux Falls That’s it.

“We are trying to make sure that people on the streets get as much care as possible,” said Haeckel. The mission’s community health workers are giving them regeneration beds made from blankets, hats, hand warmers, coats, water bottles, blankets and grocery bags, Haeckel explained. “We don’t want them to pass out under bridges or in alleyways. We’ll be careful when it gets this cold.”

Deaths from hypothermia and frostbite are not the only concerns.

Patton said those who rely on begging for their income will lose that income during storms when people aren’t out, affecting their ability to get food and other necessities. It can make city streets impassable, complicating whether outreach teams can get out of shelters and onto the streets.

The physical, mental and behavioral health issues that people living with the homeless deal with exacerbate the risks of living unprotected in extreme weather, said Doug, executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Schenkelberg pointed out. Behavioral health problems and their problems exacerbate the risks of living unprotected in extreme weather. Patton explained.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/22/us-homeless-shelters-help-winter-weather U.S. shelters see influx of homeless seeking help amid ‘life-threatening’ winterChicago

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