Philadelphia looks out for homeless in dangerous cold

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January 6, 2014 8:17:16 PM PST
Members of the city's Department of Behavioral Health were out in force Monday night across the city engaging with the homeless on what is expected to be the coldest night in decades.

"We have a list of individuals who we know that are going to be challenging, we have the teams try to engage them more frequently throughout the night, because of the extreme dangerous temperatures," Dave Holloman of the Department of Behavioral Health said.

With fierce winds throwing the city into a dangerous deep freeze, the Hub of Hope in SEPTA's subway concourse at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard was indeed just that tonight, a hub of activity offering hope to the homeless:

"This is life or death. I like to look at this as the seed, that it's planted, for them to know that we are here," Kanika Stewart of the Hub of Hope said.

Julius Elliot was the one of the many homeless thankful for the Hub of Hope being available for those in need.

"[If I didn't have them] I'd probably be out there freezing or something," Elliot said.

Meanwhile it's going to be a challenge for others to stay warm in the wake of this artic polar vortex. Doctors say combined with gusty winds, temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chills; frostbite can set in on uncovered skin in a matter of minutes.

"It doesn't take very long for frostbite to happen at all and things to expect are very cold fingers, you can have numbness, tingling pain, swelling of your fingertips, in your hands or another exposed body part," Dr. Maria Aini of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania said.

If you are concerned about someone being out in the cold, please call the Project Home outreach hotline at 215-232-1984. They are open 24/7.


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