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Freezing temps growing concern for Utah’s homeless population

By Nate Larsen,


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah ( ABC4 ) – Utah is now seeing some of the coldest temperatures since just before Christmas time. Our cold snap has daytime highs struggling to hit freezing across Northern Utah with wind chills in the teens. When temperatures are this cold, it is dangerous for those stuck outside for a long time.

“It is bitter cold outside today and it’s expected to be bitter cold all week long,” says Chris Croswhite, Executive Director of the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake . Our blast of arctic air is courtesy of our exiting storm system from over the weekend. As the storm surges south, northerly flow is pulling down the frigid air, and these temperatures can be deadly cold for those stuck outside.

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Fortunately for those who need help staying warm, shelters like the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake are ready to help. Croswhite says, “What the rescue mission is doing is we have our seek and rescue outreach teams that are going out every morning to make sure that our homeless friends, who choose to camp and live outside, have what they need, they have emergency supplies for what they need to be outside.”

For those who live outdoors, winter months in Utah are already extremely difficult. This cold snap makes it more deadly where hypothermia can settle in very quickly. If they don’t have proper clothing, proper shelter, proper nutrition, they can get so cold that our homeless friends stop feeling the cold, and at that point, their life is in danger because they literally don’t know they’re freezing to death,” says Croswhite.


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Shelters, like the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, open their doors every day to give people a chance to warm up and dry out. Croswhite says, “Our day room is just packed out with people getting off of the streets and out of the cold, during the winter, every night of the year. During our winter months, the rescue mission is at capacity, so then it’s first come first serve.”

For people who don’t spend the night, or choose to camp outside, the rescue mission offers emergency supplies to those in need. Croswhite says, “We’re taking emergency supplies out to the camps so there’s water, blankets, sleeping bags, things that people need to keep them alive.”

Bitter cold temperatures are here to stay this week and so it is important to have resources like the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake for those in need.

If you feel like you can help their cause, you can find out more on their website .

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