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Dec 2, 2009 11:18 PM by James Jarman

Advocate says the homeless can get out of the cold if they want

Freezing temperatures hitting the Pikes Peak region has shelters opening their doors for the homeless.

The Colorado Springs area has 958 beds available for the homeless, but there are 1,249 homeless.  Anne Beer with the United way says those are the numbers reported to the federal government on January 27, 2009 and she believes the homeless numbers now are even higher.

Even though it seems like there aren't enough beds to get everyone out of the cold, homeless advocates say no one has to be out in the cold in these freezing weather conditions.

Many of the homeless stay with family and friends, others get help from churches and those numbers are hard quantify, but advocates say at the local shelters no one's ever been left to stay in the cold.

"There's never been a person turned away, except if they're excessively inebriated, and if that happens then the shelter people will call detox and arrange to get them over to detox," said Bob Holmes, a homeless advocate who works through the United Way.
    
Holmes and Gene Morris, the director at the R.J. Montgomery New Hope Center homeless shelter, say some people don't want to stay at the shelters because there are rules, such as no alcohol.

They do ask that you call for help if you see someone who appears homeless and drunk or disoriented on these freezing days and nights.

"Usually when we have the freezing deaths, is when somebody is just incredibly intoxicated they they pass out fall asleep," said Holmes, "they freeze to death and we don't ever want to see that happen, so if you see somebody that you think is in trouble just call 911."

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