SAN JOSE (KCBS)— The latest cold-snap is expected to continue Wednesday night for the New Year’s Eve festivities and there’s a last-minute push to get the homeless in from the cold as temperatures dip below freezing, into the 20s in some cases. Santa Clara County health care workers are working to bring warm clothing and supplies to those who refuse to seek adequate shelter.
Dana is one of dozens of people who regularly sleeps outside in St. James Park. The park has been his bedroom for the past month or so.READ MORE: Unique Twist To Pandemic Shutdown Of Long-Establish Santa Clara Restaurant
“It was very cold. It was freezing. I was expecting frost on the ground,” he says when asked what the conditions were like.
He refuses to go to a shelter, for two main reasons: “One, I’ve never been in a shelter and two, I feel that somebody else that might be less strong than I am could use it.”
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“People choose to shelter-in-place for a number of reasons,” said Claire Wagner with Home First, a local shelter. She said health care workers have been ramping up their efforts to seek out the homeless throughout the week.
Many have been hiking into encampments with backpacks filled with more than just medical supplies.
“We bring more sleeping bags, we bring more blankets, we bring hats and socks,” said Wagner.
There are over 7,500 people sleeping on the streets of Santa Clara County, but only about 1,000 shelter beds.MORE NEWS: International Travelers Brace For New COVID Testing Requirement
The goal of course is to prevent hypothermia which claimed the lives of four homeless men in 2013.