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Shelter taking steps to help more homeless in frigid weather

Published On: Nov 25 2013 04:31:47 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 25 2013 10:30:06 PM CST

Cold weather arrives

READING, Pa. -

It may be November, but it sure feels like the dead of winter. Temperatures are expected to plunge below the freezing mark Monday night. That could spell trouble for people who are living on the streets.

The colder temperatures are leaving many across Berks County with mixed reviews.
"It is cold, really cold," said Mohnton resident Domingo Vega.

"It does not really bother me. I am not really out in there in it. I am used to it," said Reading resident Daniel Vaxter.

But some in our community, like the homeless, do not have a home to turn to when the temperatures plunge.

"It has been windy for a couple of days now so I have been keeping my coat on. Everybody has been saying it is cold outside. I am kind of in and out from the shelter," said homeless man Emmanuel Streeter.

That is why shelters like the Opportunity House have an additional 15-20 homeless people stopping in for a warm meal and a warm place to spend the night when temperatures drop below freezing.

"It is basically people that are out on the streets during the year. They are sleeping on the bridge, underneath the bridges and in abandoned houses. They just basically have to find someplace," said Opportunity House Case Manager Orlando Long.

Orlando Long says if the Opportunity House did not provide this additional service, people would die.

"If we do not provide that service and other agencies do not provide that service, they are actually going to just freeze to death outside. With it being 20 degrees and a wind chill 14 degrees, they are going to die outside," said Long.

The Hope Rescue Mission also takes in the homeless during the cold weather. But it only takes in single men. Women and children can stay at the Opportunity House.