Extreme Cold Temps Hit Region's Homeless Hard

By ANDREW LOGSDON | alogsdon@wfft.com

Published 02/27 2014 07:26PM

Updated 02/28 2014 08:42AM

When temperatures dip below zero, most of us can go inside and turn up the heat.

But it can be deadly for the nearly thirty-five hundred homeless in Fort Wayne.

Officials with the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission say the number of homeless in the region is increasing.

Brian Wrightsman has stayed at the rescue mission since this past June.

He's been out of the elements, but others aren't so lucky.

"At least I'm out of the cold. I've heard a lot of people that have lost toes and fingers and stuff like that,” Wrightsman says.

Historic cold temperatures, wind chills, and snow fall totals have driven up the numbers for people in need of a place to stay this winter.

"We're normally going to have about fifty-two beds. But in these conditions, we go beyond the fifty-two beds into cots, and when the cots fill up, we're looking into putting mats down on the floor,” says Rescue Mission CDO Richard Cummins.

Cummins says they have 94 men, and 65 women and children at the mission right now.

Over the weekend those could increase to over one hundred each as the temperatures get even more dangerous.

"A lot of frostbite. We're seeing frostbite often. One thing you're also seeing too is if you have extreme cold weather, followed by a quick warm up, you end up with a lot of folks who are cold and wet,” Cummins says.

And even if someone does find a place to stay, some shelter, a way to stay out of the elements- who knows if they'll even be able to survive through all those cold temperatures.

"But we do find people, you know, that end up in the rivers and tragically lose their lives due to the conditions,” Cummins says.

Cummins says they need your help to meet the demand.

"Right now, we need warm gloves, we need boots, we need warm socks, anything that you would need... We need that and them some for the men, women and children that are out there on the streets,” Cummins says.

If you want to help, go to-

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