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Bay Area Cold Snap Rough On San Francisco’s Homeless

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homeless, begging, panhandling, poverty

(Norbert Millauer/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Thursday was a busy night for San Francisco’s homeless outreach team, which was encouraging people to find shelter from the chilly weather.

The cold snap was expected to continue into the weekend, driving home the point that winter is one of the more difficult times of the year to be homeless.

CBS 5 WeatherCenter: Current Conditions and Forecast

“If you’re able to stay inside then you’re blessed because there’s a lot of things that a lot of people don’t realize what the homeless have to go through,” said a man who identified himself as Jesse. He was among a growing number of homeless lining up outside Glide Memorial Church Thursday in the hopes of reserving a bed in the city’s shelter system.

“It’s very important,” he said of his desire to find a warm refuge. “Because you know, you can get hypothermia, you can get anything like that so you just want to get into some shelter.”

San Francisco’s homeless outreach team is also trained to work with the homeless who resist offers of assistance.

“When we have a situation like this where three or four nights of cold are expected, my anticipation is that people who may say no the first night, hopefully they will say yes the second or third night,” reasoned Dr. Rajesh Parekh, a member of the homeless outreach team.

“We say, look, it’s going to be wet, it’s going to be cold and you really ought to come in but if people say that they’re fine where they are then we cannot force them to come in.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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