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Public Safety

Frigid Temperatures Put Homeless At Risk

Makeshift homeless shelters line Commercial St. in downtown San Diego.
KPBS Staff
Makeshift homeless shelters line Commercial St. in downtown San Diego.

Temperatures are expected to dip down overnight to the upper 20s and low 30s throughout San Diego County. A National Weather Service frost advisory cautions residents to bring pets and plants indoors.

But Bob McElroy who oversees the city’s winter homeless shelter says "don’t forget about the people." He’s sending outreach teams into the canyons and streets to distribute warm clothes and blankets, and helping the overflow of homeless folks downtown.

“We have about 60 people every night trying to get in the winter shelter," said McElroy. "You know, we’re maxed out, so we make sure we give them something when they walk away, but the tragedy is that most of the folks out there are trapped in either some form of mental illness or disability.”


McElroy said the shelter is in need of more blankets, jackets and socks.

"We’re running out of stuff quick, so anyone who’s got anything warm that we can give to people, they can drop it off downtown at the winter shelter at 16th and Newton St. or the Neil Good Day Center at 299 17th St," said McElroy.

There are nearly 10,000 homeless people in San Diego County. That population has increased 13 percent over the past two years, according to a recent "point-in-time" homeless count by the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless.

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