How Chicago Braced for the Storm

For those of you reading this article who do not live in Chicago, let me paint you a picture of what our weather looked like this past Wednesday. When my friend threw a pot of boiling water into the air, it instantly turned into snow. The temperatures here were colder than Antarctica.

It’s times like these that we realize just how precious something like shelter really is. For those of you braving the cold, be careful– being outside for more than 10 minutes may cause frostbite.

Luckily, I am indoors with friends watching movies and catching up on homework. But it is times like these that I think of those less privileged than me. I decided to explore what Chicago is doing to protect the homeless and impoverished.

The coldest temperatures on Wednesday (Jan. 30) in history have been recorded for Chicago– since records started being kept. And Chicago has about 80,000 homeless people, according to Time Magazine.

Rahm Emanuel promised that homeless shelters would not turn away anyone seeking shelter. Furthermore, those in need of assistance could dial 3-1-1. Roughly 700 homeless people die each year due to hypothermia, according to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.

Time Magazine also reported:

“Doug Schenkelberg, the executive director of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, says Chicago has added about 500 beds to its homeless shelters during the current freeze, and has opened warming centers in buses, libraries, and recreational centers across the city. However, he says that there are many reasons homeless people may avoid shelters. Some are fearful for their safety or their belongings, others have difficulty traveling to them, and some can’t meet a shelter’s rules, such as a sobriety requirement. Most Chicago shelters also require people to leave in the morning, Schenkelberg adds.”

I hope prayers are enough. But then again, not everyone prays, and everyone interprets prayer in their own way, religious or otherwise.

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