City pushes to move homeless into shelters during brutal cold

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The most at-risk population during this dangerous cold are people without a place to live.

There's currently a major effort underway to get them inside where it's warm and safe.

Jay Dugre is homeless and currently lives under the Emerald Street bridge in Kensington.

"This ain't anyway to live you know," he said.

Durge hopes to change that tomorrow.

Action News spoke with him shortly after he made plans with the city to shelter.

But Dugre isn't leaving just because of the extreme cold. He, nor anyone can stay here. On Thursday morning the city plans to clear out the encampment.

"For me, the clearing of this kind of gives me a little bit of a push I think I needed to get back to living a normal life," he said.

This morning the city had workers trying to place as many homeless as possible into shelters before the cold and clear out.

Director of Philadelphia Homeless Services Liz Hersh said on Thursday the city will announce where the homeless will be moved to.

"We have about 300 beds and 100 extra beds for code blue," she said.

And says the cold, though brutal, might even save lives.

"Sometimes it really does help people," said Hersh. "A lot of people have sought shelter. Beds are filling. If there's a silver lining it gives us a helping hand."

But not everyone is onboard with the move.

Brian Holzworth is homeless and has already left the encampment.

"Certain people don't want to go into places where they're not familiar with, they want their freedom, come and go as they want," said Holzworth.

Chris Battin has been volunteering, helping hand out food and clothing, for almost two years.

His fear is those who leave the encampment and don't shelter won't have anyone to watch over them.

"As these people who chose not to go into shelter and recovery will find abandoned houses they'll break in and if they overdose they won't have the community looking out for them," he said.

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