How to Help the Homeless During the Polar Vortex

The Polar Vortex descends into the Midwest, making parts of it literally colder than Mars . This is a potentially life-threatening weather pattern that poses a particular threat to homeless people. Here’s how you can help.

The City is aware of the impending danger to the homeless, preparing for them with added amenities, outreach and heating stations. The coldest temperatures are expected on Wednesday; however, there are concerns that when temperatures rise again, that level of concern will also disappear. Douglas Schenkelberg, executive director of the Chicago Coalition of the Homeless, told the New York Times that it is important to remember that cold is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of homeless people:

“We’ll have really bad weather during Thursday and then it gets a little warmer and the increased capacity disappears and you’ll see people taking to the streets again and these people need shelter,” he said. “That sense of urgency completely disappears when the crisis goes away.”

So donating to homeless shelters that operate year round to help people is really important, as is looking after people in need. Here’s how you can contribute.

Call 311 for information

If you spot someone in dangerous weather, you can call 311 to find out where to find them at your nearest shelter or local heating center. HuffPost reports that the Chicago Coalition of the Homeless says that if you see someone sleeping on the street , it could be seen as a situation for emergency services and emergency services.

Donate money

These shelters can operate year round thanks to donations; Just as the urgency disappears as the temperature rises, there will be fewer donations. If you can afford it, make a small (or large!) Regular donation to support homeless shelters in your area. Constant money is essential for small non-profit organizations.

Present the right clothes

Donating money is almost always the best option , but since the cold is so close, shelters directly ask for what they need; in fact, it would be helpful to keep items that could be immediately distributed. These are outerwear, gloves, warm socks and long underwear. To anyone with a Costco membership, one Lifehacker employee recommended this brand of socks for price and quality!

You can also check if local organizations have Amazon wishlists or things they want posted on their websites, like this one for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. St. Stephen. You can also call your local shelter and get real-time information on what you need as things can change quickly. They may also need volunteers to help if you want to pack up and go outside.

Have an emergency kit

You can donate toe and hand warmers to homeless shelters, but it’s always a good idea to have them on hand. Hiking blankets , bottled water, hats, and gloves may also come in handy. If you give someone money on the street, it may mean that he can buy himself a cup of coffee or tea and get a short break from the cold; Many of the people who spoke to the New York Times explained that they raise money for hotel rooms or cleaner shelters at minimal cost.

Know it’s an emergency every day

John Tribbett, public relations manager at St. Stephen’s University of Minneapolis, told HuffPost that he hopes people will donate and reach out to them to help them understand the problem is not going away with the common cold. In 2018, the number of homeless people increased for the second year in a row, and the lack of affordable housing in the United States is a systemic problem.

“The real story is the tragedy we are experiencing in this country, which is causing so many people to become homeless on the street in the first place,” says Tribbett. So what needs to be done? Connect with your representatives, get involved in organizing events in your city or town, and advocate for policies that will improve things like housing affordability and minimum wages.

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