PanamaTimes

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Extreme cold weather stretches U.S. homeless shelters' capacity

Extreme cold weather stretches U.S. homeless shelters' capacity

City officials and outreach workers across the United States were rushing to get people off the streets this week, turning sites such as libraries and arenas into shelters to mitigate a humanitarian crisis caused by freezing weather and an influx of migrants.

Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services opened libraries and police stations as warming stations, while shelters in cities as far south as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, expanded hours and bed capacity as temperatures were expected to sink to the teens in Fahrenheit (below -10 degrees Celsius) on Friday night.

Officials in Denver, Colorado, where the temperature of minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-31 degrees Celsius) on Thursday became the second-coldest in the city's history, opened the Coliseum as a shelter this week. Officials prepared the indoor arena to house 225 people but increased its capacity to 359 on Wednesday night.

"I feel good about being here because I don't have to worry about sleeping out in the cold, I don't have to worry about going from place to place," said Laphonse McMillan, one of the people seeking shelter at the Coliseum this week.

Denver officials also opened the municipal Wellington Webb Building on Thursday night. The building is a workplace for more than 1,000 city employees and, according to the city's emergency operations center, it is the first time it has been used as a shelter.

Cities across the United States have been struggling to address homelessness. A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report this week showed nearly 600,000 people were homeless as of January 2022. The report found that homelessness among people in shelters declined by 1.6%, while unsheltered homelessness increased by 3.4%, compared to 2020.

"Severe weather exacerbates the cruel reality of homelessness in America," said Donald Whitehead, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.


COMPOUNDING FACTORS


In Hennepin County, Minnesota, where the National Weather Service said blizzard conditions and extreme cold through Saturday could be "life-threatening," Director of housing stability David Hewitt said shelters or facilities such as hotel rooms were accommodating 242 families, compared to a typical capacity of 119 families.

Hewitt said there has been a surge in county shelter stays since a COVID-era eviction moratorium and federal emergency rental assistance programs ended in June.

"We literally have 300 more children in shelter today than we did this time last year," he said.

Thousands of people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border daily have placed additional strain on cities in their path. Nearly 1,000 migrants were staying at Denver city shelters or partner shelters as of Thursday, according to a city statement.

In the Texas border city of El Paso, where temperatures were in the teens Fahrenheit on Friday morning, shelters were also feeling the combined strain of mass migration and a weather-induced need for housing.

"We have cold temperatures in conjunction with a large number of refugees," John Martin, head of the Opportunity Center for the Homeless in El Paso, told CBS News, adding that local shelters expected a 50% to 60% uptick in need this week. "It just seems like everything's hitting at once."

Meanwhile, a blizzard was moving eastward across the Great Lakes region on Friday.

Central Iowa Shelter in Des Moines, where blizzard conditions were expected through Saturday, housed 250 people overnight in its 150-person capacity shelter this week, and would not turn anyone away, said director of marketing and business development Melissa Alto-Kintigh. Volunteers were still going into the community and urging people to seek shelter from the bitter cold.

"There's enough space, although this does mean that some people sleep on the floors," she said.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×