OKC Shelters Help The Homeless Stay Warm During Cold Weather
OKLAHOMA CITY - As temperatures across the state plummet, organizers at homeless shelters were rushing to get the word out that there was room for more people. At Jesus House in Oklahoma City, they prepared to reach capacity levels.
"We expect to have big numbers for the next few nights during the cold snap and we'll just do the best we can trying to take as many people as we can off of the street," said Executive Director Rick Kenny. "No question we're talking about deadly temperatures if a person doesn't take the necessary precautions to bundle up and get as far out of the elements as possible."
With so many men and women living out on the streets, volunteers want them to find a place to stay because tents and other make-shift shelters may not be enough protection from overnight low temperatures.
Many shelters across the city, include Jesus House, open up extra room when conditions get bad, but the challenge has been spreading the word that there are extra beds.
According to the most recent data from the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance, there are more than 1,000 homeless people in the city. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released new numbers on Monday showing a slight decrease in the national homeless population but that same study showed an increase across Oklahoma.
"It's a problem that we're probably always going to face, we just have to be ready for it and continue to do what we do," explained Kenny. "We go to the unsheltered homeless every Saturday and let them know, we advise them about the coming weather and then we also let them know what it takes to come, where we are and what they need to get in here to stay the night."