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Bay Area Homeless Struggle To Find Warmth As Temperatures Plunge

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) - A plume of frigid air settled over the San Francisco Bay Area Saturday night, plunging temperatures to near freezing and adding to the misery of those living on the streets.

"The name of the game is staying warm," said Edmund Wilson, who has been homeless in Santa Rosa for the last three years. "That's the only game that's out tonight, staying warm."

Saturday evening was Wilson's third night going to a Santa Rosa warming center at 610 Wilson Street.

"Oh, it's cold, it's really cold," said Wilson.

He said being homeless is tough enough, but even worse when temperatures drop. He said this kind of weather can be dangerous for people without a shelter.

"It's really bad, especially if you're older with different health ailments," Wilson said. "They really can compound things."

The city of Santa Rosa partnered with Catholic Charities to open the warming center for three nights. Because of COVID, the warming center was located outdoors in a parking lot. Workers set up pop-up tents with heaters. They provided snacks and hot coffee.

"It's been really cold. Our hands are cold. It hurts to sleep. With all the fog in the morning, it's freezing," said a homeless woman who went by Eva. She declined to provide a last name.

A Catholic Charities spokesperson said about 75 people had used the facility in the first two nights.

They help us out here with clothes and food and things. Everybody here is really nice," said Wilson.

The warming center closed on Sunday morning at 7 a.m.

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