Homeless Seek Refuge from Cold

By: Landon Cassman Email
By: Landon Cassman Email

STATELINE (WIFR) -- This Martin Luther King holiday has allowed many of us to stay bundled up inside, but many don't have that luxury.

"It was just so bitterly cold that I was just, I couldn't, I couldn't sit down for too long because I was too scared that I was going to freeze if I fell asleep."

Clark Green says spending the night on the cold streets of Rockford is something he hopes he never has to do again.
Two weeks ago, he came to the Rockford Rescue Mission to ask for some relief from the frigid temperatures.
"It was just depressing as ever because I never thought I'd get to that point. But it's like, you just, have to swallow that pill they call pride and do what you got to do to survive,” says Green.

On the coldest day of the season so far, people like Green are heading in droves to warming centers around the city. Some, like Mike Costello, refuse to go to the shelters, and instead choose to brave the elements on their own.
"Yeah it's probably the worst of being out here, is the cold winters. But, I usually find places to stand around or sit. Usually the post office or a library or something like that," said Costello.

However, the Rockford Rescue Mission says nobody should have to sleep outside when it's as cold as it is today.
"Come in anyway. Whatever your objections or concerns are about being in a place like this, put those aside. Don't freeze to death,” said Crisis Center Supervisor, Bill Feffer.

Though it is the coldest so far this year, the most frigid nights are still to come.
The Rescue Mission says about 75 of their 120 beds have been filled with people looking for warmth. They say their doors are always open, and will make more room if needed.

Many area churches, charities, and public buildings have volunteered to be warming centers and will be open overnight.
If your heat goes out, or you know of someone who needs help, you can send them to the following places. In Belvidere, the Public Safety Building on North Main is open 24/7. The same goes for Winnebago County’s Justice Center and the Rockford Rescue Mission on West State Street.

Click here for a full list of warming center locations and times for Winnebago and Boone Counties.


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