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Temperatures below zero endangering the lives of the homeless in Little Rock



Little Rock, Arkansas – The majority of us will spend the Christmas weekend getting together with our families in our cozy homes, but not everyone has the blessing of doing so.

Some members of the homeless community in Little Rock are having trouble simply surviving as a result of the recent drop in temperature below freezing.

“It was bad, don’t get me wrong. But, it could have been worse…thank God it stopped snowing,” said Shannon Estell, who has only a small tent, blankets, and clothes on her back to protect her from frostbite.

The sudden onslaught of winter weather that Estell experienced yesterday evening was accompanied by a precipitous drop in temperature.

“When it started up, man it was a little rough,” said Jesse Smith. “You never know until it hits…if you’re prepared for it or not. I know I have to insulate the tent.”

The City of Little Rock collaborated with a local nonprofit organization called “The Van” to provide emergency housing from last night through next Monday in order to keep the homeless out of the bitter weather.

“I ended up being out all night until the early day until I had an attack due to the fact that I’m anemic,” said Daniel Hill, a veteran who has been homeless for nearly a year. “I started hyperventilating and shivering and shaking really bad and was admitted to the hospital. And from the hospital, they gave me a list of places to go. And the first number I called off the piece of paper was this residence and an officer came over and brought me straight over. So, I praise God for the blessing…I have a large amount of gratitude for the people that are helping us.”

Others, however, choose not to visit shelters for a variety of reasons, including worries about theft, safety, and the hazard of being admitted.

“If you’re out there in the frigid temperatures, we’re asking you to please, call The Van, call someone to get out of those temperatures, because they’re very dangerous,” Chris Porter, Homeless Service Advocate for the City of Little Rock, said.

“We really want you to make it through the night and have a Christmas without freezing.”