Cold-weather gear for homeless in short supply

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Stocks of blankets, plastic sheets and other cold-weather gear for people living on San Diego's streets were used up over the
chilly weekend, so donations are needed, a homeless advocate said Monday.

Bob McElroy of the Alpha Project told City News Service that outreach
teams toured downtown during the last couple of days to make sure people had
what they needed to stay warm.

“We had enough to go around this weekend, but we're depleted,” McElroy

The biggest needs are jackets, socks, blankets and 55-gallon trash bags,
which can be made into parkas, according to McElroy. He said thick plastic
sheets used by painters are also helpful.

Plastic is “a lifesaver” because it keeps people living on the streets
dry, he said.

“Some of the people actually had ice on their sleeping bags” this
weekend, McElroy said.

Donations can be made 24 hours a day at the city of San Diego's cold
weather shelter at 16th Street and Newton Avenue in Barrio Logan, and during
the day at the Neil Good Day Center at 299 17th St., in the East Village.

Around 150 to 200 more people than usual crowded into shelters during
the cold nights, McElroy said.

He said the San Diego Housing Commission, which oversees homeless
programs for the city of San Diego, allowed the nonprofit Alpha Project to keep
the day center open all night during the weekend. Usually the facility, where
homeless can shower or make phone calls, closes at night.

McElroy said St. Vincent de Paul allowed the homeless to spend the
frigid nights in its dining room. Rachel's Women's Center also stayed open
around the clock, he said.

As far as he knows, no one died on the streets over the weekend. Last
year, two homeless people died of exposure under the Imperial Avenue Bridge
across Interstate 5, McElroy said.

While the National Weather Service is forecasting warmer daytime
temperatures later this week, but it will still be crisp at night, with
predicted lows in the 40s. The low at the official San Diego reporting station
at Lindbergh Field on Monday morning was 40 degrees.

Categories: KUSI