Utahns experiencing homelessness fight to survive amid frigid temperatures

Local News

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Temperatures are dropping and with winter on the way, many who are experiencing homelessness are fighting the cold and all that comes with it.

Living on the streets isn’t an easy life.

“It makes me shake,” said David Rigby. “Kinda wanna find someplace to warm up, or if all else fails, I just wrap up in my sleeping bag, sit in there, breathe the air, and it will help generate the energy in there to warm me up.”

With colder temperatures coming into the Beehive State, Rigby is staying warm by temporarily setting up outside the city library.

While it’s his choice to spend the day outside, Rigby said he doesn’t go to a shelter because he can’t leave his belongings there, making it hard to go anywhere else.

Enduring the frigid weather, David says he’s been on the streets for six years now. During his time, he finds it fulfilling to educate others in the homeless community of how to stay warm.

“Like, simply, if they have their sleeping bag with a couple blankets inside to wrap with a piece of plastic,” Rigby said, “but not cover their heads and then throw another blanket on top of that to help hold their heat in there.”

With not much more than the clothes on his back, John Lambrose said winters are hard.

“It’s freezing cold. It’s like sleeping on ice a lot of the times,” Lambrose said.

The harsh weather, causing some in the homeless community to experience frostbite and hypothermia, which can lead to death.

“I’ve had some friends found, froze,” Lambrose said. “It’s just how it goes, I guess. I don’t know.”

Matt Minkevitch, the executive director of The Road Home, said there is availability at their shelter. All they are asking is for people to call 801-990-9999 in advance.

Minkevitch said there are over 1,000 beds for people. With the colder temperatures, they have been preparing to help.

“We just want to get people out of the cold,” Minkevitch said.

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