SAN JOSE (KCBS) _ The cold weather pattern this week has made it especially difficult for the more than seven thousand homeless people in Santa Clara County.

Fortunately, two winter shelters have opened early, allowing 250 people to come in from the cold.

“We’re opening our beds at the Boccardo Reception Center a few days early because it’s been extremely cold,” said Jennifer Van Every with EHC LifeBuilders. “It’s very important to get as many people off the streets and into a safe and warm place as soon as possible.”

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Van Every said the bottom line is that shelters save lives.

“It’s very important for people to get out of the cold and get a warm meal, be able to sleep in a bed with a blanket and be in a safe and warm place,” she said. “This program each year saves lives and keeps people from becoming sick, so it’s very critical.”

66 people died on the streets of Santa Clara County last year. Jeffrey Johnson, who’s been homeless for two years, said you get more than just a warm bed at the shelter.

“EHC LifeBuilders has given me a lot of opportunities to prepare myself for work and put in applications,” said Johnson.

Another 125 beds will be added to the mix when the Sunnyvale Armory opens on Thursday night, four days earlier than originally planned.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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