Warming shelters open with coldest night since Sunday

(KATU Photo)

Many warming shelters are at capacity this week and organizers aren't expecting anything less Thursday night.

"We’ve seen both the 25-degree temperatures and the snow this week and that really brings people in when it’s cold and wet," said Denis Theriault with the Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services.

Theriault said they've opened four warming shelters throughout the county, with many more outreach services going out into the communities finding people who may need help in the frigid cold.

"The reality is there are going to be some folks who aren’t going to make good decisions about whether they can get to shelter, we offer shelter to anyone who wants it and seeks it," said Theriault.

Pastor Brian Norris is with Living Hope Church in Vancouver. They opened their chapel on Sunday night and it's been full ever since.

"Whatever we can do to get them safe in these conditions, is a huge need," said Norris.

The building is set up to accommodate more than a hundred people. It's a place that some say they couldn't go on without.

"It means life or death; if they’re out here they could die tonight," said Kevin Lempke, who's been homeless now for a few years. "If they come inside they get not only shelter, a meal, but they get hope."

The shelters are open to men, women, children and pets. They will close tomorrow around 6:30 a.m.

Most shelters still need donations. They're looking for items like coats, hats, socks, blankets, sleeping bags and tarps.

If you would like to donate, you can visit these sites:

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