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Bay Area Homeless Shelters Ready For Cold Snap

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A large homeless encampment under the King Street connector to Interstate 280 in San Francisco is being cleared out, although many of the displaced said they plan to return.

People at a homeless encampment in San Francisco. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — As a cold snap that reached the Bay Area this week was bringing freezing temperatures, homeless cold-weather shelters were making beds and meals available to those living on the streets.

Bevan Dufty, director of San Francisco’s H.O.P.E. (Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement) for the city, said additional beds were available on an emergency basis, with no need for reservations. Special teams trained to detect signs of hypothermia were set to reach out to those on the streets.

“We have a winter-shelter program which will provide 60 beds and meals to individuals. We also have a cold-snap protocol to make sure that we’re able to utilize every available shelter bed and we have the ability to open an emergency facility if gets extremely cold,” he said.

Brooke, 26, who is homeless said when shelters discover that she has a dog, she’s not welcome inside.

“I carry around a tarp. I find cardboard and get off the concrete or cold stone. I’m used to it,” she said.

“I have two blankets and a sleeping bag.”

Meanwhile in Santa Clara County, people living on the streets are also seeking shelter in three cold-weather shelters there.

Of the 125 beds available at the Sunnyvale National Guard Armory, only 73 were occupied Monday night but the number was expected to go up as temperatures continue to go down this week.

In addition to a warm place to sleep, the homeless are given two hot meals.

Jenny Niklaus, the CEO of EHC Lifebuilders, which manages the winter shelters, said they also try to get the homeless connected with more long-term services.

“We have different folks that come in from different volunteer groups, from different agencies; the valley health-care system brings their medical van so they can also get service when they are there,” she said.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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