Bitter temperatures challenging homeless
There’s no doubt its cold outside, over night lows dipping below zero.
It’s those below freezing temperatures that have many of the Western Slope's homeless struggling to survive.
As cold weather hits, homeless shelters fill up.
AJ Johnson, with Homeward Bound Homeless Shelter, says, "We are seeing the increases. Nightly we have them.”
Bitter temperatures are challenging Colorado’s homeless. Last year's eleven percent rise in the homeless population is being felt by packed shelters.
Homeward Bound is full almost every night. Now it’s relying on overflow programs.
"It’s a real benefit. If it wasn't for that program we would be in big trouble," Johnson said.
In addition, The Salvation Army is working to open a place where people can go during the day to get out of the cold.
Social worker Yvonne Kanocz says, "We’ll have families that will be referred over from Homeward Bound. They have three that are staying inside right now because they're sick."
Even with a dramatic increase in those seeking shelter, The Salvation Army says it’s not turning anyone away.
Since big homeless encampments have been cleared out, more people are asking for help.
"When the camps were cleared up along the riverside a lot of them had no where to go,” Kanocz said. “The goal is to give them hope, keep them warm, and provide some food for them so they can survive."
While Salvation Army is happy to help, workers say they still wish they could do more.
“We can't totally help them in all areas we wish that we could,” Kanocz said. “It does hurt a lot to see that."
Copyright 2012 KJCT. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The following are comments from our users. Opinions expressed are neither created nor endorsed by KJCT, its web master or its television station management. These comments are moderated by the community. To report an offensive or otherwise inappropriate comment, click the "Flag" link that appears beneath that comment. Comments that are flagged will alert our editorial staff.