NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 6 (UPI) — A long-lasting cold spell in the United States’ South and East is putting tremendous pressure on homeless shelters, social services providers say.
With overnight temperatures predicted to fall into the 20s in New Orleans and other parts of the Deep South this week, swamped homeless shelters are sending out distress signals, USA Today reported Wednesday.
“It’s a pretty horrifying situation,” Martha Kegel of UNITY of Greater New Orleans told the newspaper, adding “there’s no way to get to all” of the city’s homeless people. “I have a sickening feeling we’re going to lose people to exposure.”
Meanwhile in Nashville, where temperatures fell to 12 degrees Monday, four people reportedly died in the unusual cold outdoors.
Don Worrell, president of the Nashville Rescue Mission, told USA Today his homeless shelter, which has 747 beds, is filled over capacity.
“We’re trying to prevent hypothermia,” especially among those who drink alcohol and may be unaware of the cold. Worrell his mission sends out a “cold patrol” when the temperature drops below 36 degrees in hopes of find the homeless and bringing them in.
Copyright 2010 by United Press International