How the freeze warning is impacting the homeless

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 12:24 AM MDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 12:43 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - There is a freeze warning in effect for the Grand Valley from 8 p.m. Thursday night until 10 a.m. Friday morning. The Sub-freezing temperatures in the mid and upper 20s are the first of the season.

This frost and freezing conditions will kill sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing. But what about the homeless population living on the streets? Well, we spoke with Homeward Bound, which typically functions as a temporary emergency shelter that provides services for this vulnerable population.

“Every year during the winter we typically will find ourselves needing what we call overflow shelter,” said Homeward Bound Executive Director Greg Moore. “Typically anywhere from 14-20 beds of additional capacity that we either lease another facility for. Or in our case right now we have a big canopy that if we find we need it we’ll put it up in the parking lot & put some heat in it. To accommodate those who we might not have sufficient existing bed space for but we want to get under cover & protection & be sure they’re out of the elements.”

They say the need goes up 25-30% every year around this time during these colder months. As the vulnerable homeless population who has been successful outside cannot continue under the same conditions as temperatures drop. So they look to Homeward Bound and other indoor places to seek warm shelter.

“Our main function is to provide a place for people to come,” said Moore. “Our objective is to help them get undercover & stay engaged with us long enough that we can begin to get them connected with other services, housing opportunities, employment opportunities, those kinds of things so that they don’t have to stay with us for an extended period of time & can find other ways to become more self sustaining.”

Homeward Bound will help provide, the vulnerable population of people living on the streets with a warm shelter and food, especially during these freezing temperatures.

One local man, Robert Pharris, is very grateful for Homeward Bound’s help providing him with food & shelter while he worked on getting his credentials back after losing all access to his finances & identification in an automobile accident.

“When I went into Homeward Bound it was February 11,” said Pharris. “I would’ve just been out in the weather without any sort of shelter or anything. Homeward Bound gave me a good bed, a warm environment, good meals, & was the only way to actually survive that time of year. I would’ve basically been outdoors under a bridge or something.”

Homeward Bound is also in high need for donations of warm clothes and blankets from now until April.

Also a reminder to bring pets indoors during these freeze warnings. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia when in freezing temperatures.

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