Homeless shelters packed with many escaping cold

December 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Temperatures in the South Bay dropped dangerously low for many homeless people out on the streets.

In South San Francisco, the Safe Harbor organization has been putting out extra cots to meet the higher demand of these cold nights. They anticipate all of their 90 beds will be filled for Monday evening.

In San Jose, so many people showed up looking for help at LifeBuilders, the shelter held a lottery for its 125 beds. That idea soon went out the window when they saw how many people desperately needed to be inside away from the cold.

They didn't get real snow in San Jose, but it was cold enough to keep people away from the usually crowded Christmas In the Park. Even the most popular guy in town, Santa Claus, was easy to get in to see Monday night.

The weather forced a San Jose homeless shelter to let in more people than managers usually allow.

"We didn't turn away anyone tonight and we really worked to find space for everyone because it is so cold outside," said Jenny Niklaus, the EHC Lifebuilders CEO.

Katherine Taylor found herself checking in for the first time in her life. She got evicted on Monday and she had nowhere else to go.

"I thought I was definitely going to freeze to death on the street," said Taylor.

Her pastor had to call several places before he found her a spot at a shelter. They decided to put mattresses on the floor and ignore the safety hazards an overcrowded shelter creates because it's just too dangerous to sleep outside tonight.

"We've been worried all day about folks that will be outside and how we can make sure we can accommodate everyone that needs a bed if we can," said Niklaus.

It's better to be crowded at the shelters than to be out on the streets. It was expected to get down to 31 degrees in the South Bay.


Load Comments