SARASOTA (WWSB) - It’s a very rough night for people living on the streets. With temperatures dipping down into the forties, emergency management officials decided to have some shelters open for anyone who needs it. James Brooks has been living on the streets now for more than six years. He tells us that even though the cold weather shelters are available this evening, he mostly likely will not be using it.
“Only if it’s necessary, it’s a little bit too crowded sometimes," said Brooks. "Sometimes you go in there, there’s a lot of germs flying in there, I don’t want to go in there and get sick and come out into the weather and be sicker.”
The Salvation Army on 10th street in Sarasota will have around a hundred people get in from the cold. They are not only offering a free shelter with a mat tonight, but also a free dinner and breakfast in the morning.
“The opportunity that we have to connect with people also gives us the option to offer them some paths towards housing," said Chris Johnson, Director of Program Services for the Salvation Army. "So for us it’s a wonderful way that we get to connect with those who are out there who may not come in any other way.”
For those who decide to brave the cold, some good samaritans have been distributing blankets and other items to help keep people on the street warm. The two cold weather shelters that are open in Sarasota County tonight include the Salvation Army in Sarasota and The New Hope Community Church on South Biscayne Drive in North Port. The shelter that’s open in Manatee County this evening is the Salvation Army on 14th Street West in Bradenton.