Donations needed to help keep San Diego homeless warm - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Donations needed to help keep San Diego homeless warm

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Stocks of blankets, plastic sheets and other cold-weather gear for people living on San Diego's streets were used up over the chilly weekend, so donations are needed, a homeless advocate said Monday.

Bob McElroy of the Alpha Project told City News Service that outreach teams toured downtown during the last couple of days to make sure people had what they needed to stay warm.

"We had enough to go around this weekend, but we're depleted," McElroy said.

The biggest needs are jackets, socks, blankets and 55-gallon trash bags, which can be made into parkas, according to McElroy. He said thick plastic sheets used by painters are also helpful.

Plastic is "a lifesaver" because it keeps people living on the streets dry, he said.

"Some of the people actually had ice on their sleeping bags" this weekend, McElroy said.

Donations can be made 24 hours a day at the city of San Diego's cold weather shelter at 16th Street and Newton Avenue in Barrio Logan, and during the day at the Neil Good Day Center at 299 17th St., in the East Village.

Around 150 to 200 more people than usual crowded into shelters during the cold nights, McElroy said.

He said the San Diego Housing Commission, which oversees homeless programs for the city of San Diego, allowed the nonprofit Alpha Project to keep the day center open all night during the weekend. Usually the facility, where homeless can shower or make phone calls, closes at night.

McElroy said St. Vincent de Paul allowed the homeless to spend the frigid nights in its dining room. Rachel's Women's Center also stayed open around the clock, he said.

As far as he knows, no one died on the streets over the weekend. Last year, two homeless people died of exposure under the Imperial Avenue Bridge across Interstate 5, McElroy said.

While the National Weather Service is forecasting warmer daytime temperatures later this week, but it will still be crisp at night, with predicted lows in the 40s. The low at the official San Diego reporting station at Lindbergh Field on Monday morning was 40 degrees.

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