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Homeless Urged To Enter Cold-Weather Shelters After South Bay Deaths

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Homeless encampment near Mineta San Jose International Airport. (CBS)

Homeless encampment near Mineta San Jose International Airport. (CBS)

MattBigler20100909_KCBS_0384r Matt Bigler
KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Volunteers reached out to homeless encampments across the San Jose area on Saturday and Sunday, hoping to get more people into shelters during the freezing weather.

After the death of four homeless men in Santa Clara County last week, Emergency shelters increased the number of available spaces—in some cases there are people sleeping on mats in halls and walkways.

Jenny Nicklaus, the executive for EHC LifeBuilders – which manages the shelter program, said that the increase only puts a dent in servicing of the estimated 5,000 people in the county sleeping on the streets.

“Even in our best scenarios, we only have about 1,000 emergency beds throughout the county,” she said. “Even if all the beds were full, there still would be people outside—a lot of people outside.”

Niklaus said, however, that there were dozens of beds available at her agency’s shelters last week when four homeless men died of hypothermia. Many people weren’t aware the shelters had opened for the season days earlier.

Meanwhile shelters in Berkeley, Oakland and southern Alameda County also added beds because of the cold weather.

The National Weather Service issued another freeze warning for Monday night that will continue into Tuesday morning.

The forecast also calls for a gradual warming later in the week.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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