SHELTERS TRYING TO KEEP HOMELESS WARM
Eureka, CA- It’s that time of year when the temperature drops and the wind chill factor rises, forcing those without shelter to find it. However, fire officials say that problems arise when people seek shelter in vacant buildings.Humboldt Bay Fire told us they have reason to believe that transients caused the structure fire on Second and A streets over the weekend. Fire officials told us there was significant evidence of transient activity. Now there are shelters where people can warm up, but sometimes they fill up. Bryan Hall, the Executive Director for the Eureka Rescue Mission said, "When were full were full. We have to turn people away."The Eureka Rescue Mission only has room for 62 people, and Hall says they fill-up quickly, "Relying on other facilities in town we do what we can."We spoke to a shelter occupant who compares the cold to being stabbed, "Its like someone sticking knives into you. You can't get the cold to go away. It’s a pain that stays there."Jesse White use to sleep in his care before it got stolen; now he prefers to stay at the Eureka Rescue Mission. However, if he has to be outside he tells us fires are never an option. White added, "Absolutely no fires. The only way you build a fire if there's plenty of water."The Eureka Rescue Mission works with St. Vincent de Paul to house the homeless and they call it the extreme weather shelter. Russell Shaddix works at St. Vincent de Paul and said, "The weather bureau determines if the temperature and the wind, rain would lead to a freezing situation that will endanger people."St. Vincent de Paul usually closes their doors at 3pm but if the temperature lowers to 32 degrees or below they will re-open at 6pm and see that the homeless have shelter over night. Shaddix said, "A lot of us disagree on how to serve the homeless but almost everybody agrees that you don't want them to freeze."He told us that they have never had to turn anyone away, but that some people just prefer to be out on the streets. Shaddix added, "We provide warmth for them, security for the evening. There's always going to be some individuals that chose not to be in shelters."Humboldt bay fire wants to remind the community to secure all buildings and dumpsters to protect property from unwanted fire threat.