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Frigid temps big problem for homeless population

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – With temperatures going down to 11 degrees Tuesday night, people who are homeless are scrambling to find shelter.  Many of them are taking cover at the Center for the Homeless in South Bend through the winter amnesty program.

“The cost of living is high.  It is hard to make it,” said Jesse Blanco.

Fifty-five-year-old Blanco has been homeless for months and he is trying to get back on his feet.

“I am getting an apartment in two days,” said Blanco.

But with the frigid temperatures, Blanco needs shelter now.

“It is extremely cold out there,” said Blanco.

So he is taking cover under the Center for the Homeless’ Weather Amnesty Program.

“We allow 30 extra people every night just to give them a warm place to sleep,” said Associate Director Lisa Knox.

Knox said with temperatures going down to 11 degrees, her staff is ready to pull the extra beds out because the shelter will be at max capacity.

“Anytime it gets under 20 and under 15, it gets to be where we really do need everybody prepared for a full house,” said Knox.

Knox said sometimes the shelter gets so full during winter, she has to send the homeless they cannot fit to other agencies in the area.

Blanco said he does not know what he would do without the center.

“I would freeze up and just die,” said Blanco.

Knox also said anytime you can donate clothing such as gloves or a coat, it really helps those that are homeless survive this winter cold.

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