City of New Orleans activates freeze plan - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

City of New Orleans activates freeze plan

Updated:
People gathered outside the New Orleans Mission People gathered outside the New Orleans Mission
New Orleans, La. -

City leaders are activating their freeze plan Wednesday night because of the dip in temperatures. It's a move that hopefully will help homeless people stay safe in the cold conditions.

Terry King and his girlfriend Tishana Havies spent Tuesday night sleeping on the street in temperatures they weren't expecting. "We're not used to it so what we do is we try to bundle up as much as possible," King explained.

But Wednesday night, New Orleans police will try to get King and Havies and other homeless citizens off the street as temperatures dip down to the 30's.

David Bottner, director of the New Orleans Mission, said, "They'll track them down, find out where they're staying and then find a shelter that would be available."

The mission is full almost every night.  Wednesday, because of the weather conditions outside, they'll add an additional 25 beds to the 253 already set up. "We know that it could be a fire hazard but putting them on the street, they could die out in the cold," Bottner said.  "So it's like, what's the trade off?"

The Salvation Army was also filled to capacity Tuesday night.  Every one of their 200 beds had someone in it and they're expecting the same thing Wednesday night.

But even with four shelters open, Bottner says there will still be people suffering in the cold, explaining, "The bigger issue is there's still 5,000 homeless people, so even if the city says the fire department will allow you to take 25 more, there's still an issue of 4,700 homeless people that can't go anywhere."

Many simply don't want help.  "The longer somebody is on the street, the more mental illness really sets in," Bottner said.

Others, like King and Havies, don't want to be separated. "He refuse to go in there if I can't get in," Havies told FOX 8.

But authorities will do everything they can to get them inside, because Wednesday night it'll simply be too cold to stay outdoors.

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