Fluctuating temperatures make it more difficult for Columbus’ homeless community

Local News

COLUMBUS, OHIO (WCMH)- On Friday Columbus is seeing some of the coldest temperatures of the season with lows in the teens, leaving those experiencing homelessness looking for a place to stay warm. 

“I’ve been out there like in the elements to a tent, to a storage units to a friends houses just pretty much where ever you can to seek refuge from the cold,” said Susan, who has been dealing with homelessness since the fall. 

At The Open Shelter downtown they offer shelter during the day and on Friday morning they opened early due to the frigid temperatures. Workers say this winter has been especially difficult on people who have no where to store their winter gear and ultimately end up with nothing during the rare freezing days. 

“The fluctuating between warm and cold, and rain and cold almost makes it harder. It’s one day I got to have all my warm gear on, the next day I don’t need it so where do I put it so it’s safe because it’s going to get cold and i’m going to need it again,” said Sheli Mathias, Chief Operating Officer at The Open Shelter.

On Friday The Open Shelter gave people winter clothing, hand warmers and blankets to try and get them through this cold snap. The run completely off of donations and say they are always looking for more men’s clothing.

As for overnight shelters the Community Shelter Board said they always up their capacity during the winter so that on days like Friday no one will be turned away.

“We will just add space, add more beds, add mats. In a worse case scenario someone may be sleeping on a row of chairs. We will just make as much room as we have to, to make sure no one gets turned away,” said Sara Lokin, Community Relations Director of Community Shelter Board.

Community Shelter Board urges anyone who needs help to call the homeless hotline at (614) 274-7000, they are open 24 hours a day.

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