As the city of Chicago comes under the grip of frigid weather conditions, homeless people are forced to look out for warm shelters providing daily necessities and security.
The once busy shopping areas turned quiet, with a few bundled-up pedestrians walking hastily.
Some homeless were still seen out on the streets, holding signs asking for help. While some are struggling veterans, others are with physical disabilities, and some are even with children.
The waiting lounge of Pacific Garden Mission Shelter Home was a crowded spot filled with homeless people who needed nothing more than a warm corner.
“We see an average of 700 to 800 people every single day. Sometimes, there are people who come in when it’s extremely cold, who won’t come in when it’s not so cold because they would prefer to stay outside in the tent or wherever. We buy a lot of food. That’s why I said our budget is almost nine million dollars annually. Our utility bills are very, very expensive, for electric, for water, for gas. These things are very expensive, and we buy food,” said Ervin McNeill, in-charge of the shelter.
He called for more donation from the society to help the homeless to get through the harsh winter.
The frigid weather is a threat for nearly 82,000 homeless in Chicago. The addresses and contact numbers of available shelter homes have even been put out by the local media.
Some residents have also come ahead in helping the homeless by donating food items and warm clothes.
“I have coats and shirts and pants, and some sweaters for the people here,” said a local resident.
McNeill hopes more shelters can be built in the near future, and that the government should take actions to improve the living conditions of the homeless. He also pointed out that the government should provide education and training opportunities so that these homeless people can at some point stand on their own feet.
“You can hand them food and get them a bed. That only helps a little bit, but what the person needs is to learn how to help themselves,” noted the officer in charge. — Reuters