Homeless Shelter Stays Open During Freezing Temperatures

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Just a few steps from the river walk near Kalamazoo Street, you’ll find a homeless camp in the woods. On Thursday, it was abandoned.

“I’m glad they’re not in the camp today, and they’re probably finding better, safer alternatives,” said Mike Chriss, City Rescue Mission.

That’s the hope because these temperatures can be deadly with body temperature dropping rapidly.

“There have been cases where people become incapacitated within 15 minutes of being in the cold, start to lose body functions,” said Lt. Cam Howie, East Lansing Fire Department.

“Right now I’m inside, I don’t have my hat or gloves on, and my hand temperature is about 82 degrees. Now the temperature on my face is just about 88 degrees.”

I went outside with a thermal imaging camera, took off my hat and gloves, and just four minutes later, my hands came in at 53 degrees.

That’s almost a 30 degree drop in just minutes. My forehead dropped from 88 to 70, an 18 degree difference.

But that was only four minutes, not a full day and night spent outside.

To make sure no one has to do that, the City Rescue Mission won’t close its doors.

“We won’t turn people away. So police might bring somebody in the middle of the night, we’ll take care of them, obviously they’ve found someone who needed a place to stay, so bring them to the mission and we’ll take care of them,” said Chriss.

If all the beds are taken, the mission will have mattresses on the floor, so no one is left out in the cold.

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