People trying to seek shelter to escape frigid cold weather

ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – Everyone in the Capital Region is hunkering down and seeking shelter from the bitter cold temperatures, people like Jeff O’Donnell.

“Nobody wants to be out in this weather. I know I don’t”, said O’Donnell.

For now, he has gotten off the streets and out of the cold by staying at the Capital City Rescue Mission.

“It’s very comfortable because I’ve been out there today it’s really cold and I’m happy I have a place to stay and they’re helping a lot of other people out”, said O’Donnell.

Perry Jones, the Executive Director and Pastor of the Capital City Rescue Mission, said as the number on the mercury continues to drop, their numbers are on the rise.

“Packed house, people come in almost in droves. You know it’s like people are thinking “we can’t be out there”. So, they’re coming and we’re ready”, said Jones.

The mission is ready to help as many people as they can. Right now, their head count is more than 250 people.

“It’s great to have them in. It’s great to know they’re not outside in harm way. They just need to be directed inside or directed to a police officer or someone else that can take them in”, said Jones.

If you don’t want to go to a shelter, your local police department is also an option. If you see someone you think needs help, give police a call.

“It’s public safety. Provide us with as much information as possible about the individual. Their location, what they’re wearing, stuff like that. An officer will respond”, said Lt. McCracken of the Schenectady Police Department.

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that called for all local social service agencies to move homeless into shelters when temperatures at or below freezing.

“So far, we’ve had no individuals who have met that criteria. We’ve encountered no homeless people”, said McCracken.

With the frigid air hanging around until Monday, staying warm is the key for everybody.

“I hope people keep coming here and staying out of the cold, but I hope the cold goes away”, said O’Donnell.

The Capital City Rescue Mission is also doing something they’ve never done before and that’s to allow women to stay there. A new women’s emergency wing has been added and has already been filled for the night.



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