CHICAGO-- Some shelters are at capacity as people seek an escape from the bitter cold, but they are still making room for those who need a place to stay. Nearly 1,100 homeless people took shelter at Pacific Garden mission in the south loop overnight, getting out of the potentially deadly bitter cold. 300 of them were women and children.
Last night three teenagers, with no coats, came in for help. One boy's toe was frozen to his shoe.
Phil Kwiatkowski, Pacific Garden Mission President said “We gave them coats, a change of clothes, food and shelter if they need it.”
Thresholds is a mental health organization that contracts with the city to help the homeless. John Czapkowicz and Tara Noonan are part of the mobile assessment program CTA team; looking for people who use the trains for shelter. Many of them will spend the day in the Thompson center.
Czapkowicz said they “Find out what the person needs right off the bat. Then talk about more long term kind of stuff.”
This team has met a woman named Ellen before. Today she took them up on some hand and toe warmers, a sweatshirt and a McDonald's gift card. Ellen says she used to work at the Four Seasons. She's originally from Uganda but says she's planning on going home to Washington, DC. Until then she sleeps by an entrance to the red line.
Tara took Ellen to get some food and drinks. She and john promised to come back tomorrow to see if Ellen needs anything else.