Local shelters prepare for bitter cold

SCHENECTADY, NY (NEWS10) – As temperatures are expected to drop below zero, local homeless shelters are preparing for an increase of people needing a warm place to stay.

Every day during Code Blue, the chapel at the City Mission of Schenectady is transformed into a refuge for those in need of a warm place to sleep. “I hold a lot of stuff in. I have a very bad habit of doing that.” Julius Ford was ashamed of himself and the situation he was in living on the streets of Schenectady.

“I had a lot of pride,” Ford said. “I didn’t want to ask anybody for help. I didn’t feel like you know I was anybody else’s responsibility.” He stuck it out for a while. But once the temperatures started to drop, be realized, if he wanted to live, he had to seek help. “It got to a point where it was becoming a hazard to my health.”

He went to the City Mission of Schenectady. Both to find warmth and a program to help him better his life. “We’re able to help people just right off you know the bat from the minute that they walk in,” said Mike Harrigan, City Mission of Schenectady Director of Operations. “The weather forecast is severe,: said Harrigan. “It’s the most severe one I’ve seen in quite a while so we’ve been trying to be diligent about our preparations.”

They ordered more mats and have extra staff ready to go. If they reach capacity, they will find a way to help the homeless out. Harrigan said, “we want to get people out of the cold. We don’t want anybody to be out in the cold in the street.”

For FORD, the mission has been a lifesaver. He now has a job and is determined to have his own apartment soon. “The cold kind of woke me up. It really woke me up. It was a long walk that day and those bags were, they were pretty heavy.”

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