CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - City agencies and nonprofit groups are scrambling this week to get Chicago’s large homeless population off the streets as our dangerously cold weather hits.
For those helping the homeless, it's a question of life or death.
The Salvation Army stopped by the West Side on Monday, handing out hot soup and warm clothes
“I've got hats and gloves and scarfs to pass our if people need it,” said Richard Vargas, with the Salvation Army.
But the real concern is for that small percentage of homeless who refuse to come in from the cold.
"Just trying to get them not to freeze to death,” said Nancy Powers, with the Salvation Army. “In this weather, believe it or not, at 20 degrees below zero, there are some folks who are still going to stay put."
The city plans to park CTA buses near homeless populations over the next few nights and expand the number of warming shelters.
"We have opened two additional 24-hour warming centers, our Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie, and our King Community Center at 4341 South Cottage will each be open 24 hours a day,” said Liza Morrison-Butler, Commissioner of Family and Support Services.
A large crowd is already gathering at the warming center on Kedzie.
"I'm gonna survive by staying at the warming center and drinking hot cocoa,” said one homeless woman.
While on the North Side, the Night Ministry bus is loaded with supplies which will be distributed Monday night in the Pilsen and South Shore neighborhoods.
The goal is to make sure those on the streets, often unplugged from news and social media, know what's coming.
"It depends if they have access to television, to the media,” said Rev. Faith Miller, the Night Ministry. “So hopefully we can at least do our part. Pass out flyers to get the word out as quickly as possible."
The Night Ministry bus will be out later this week serving the homeless populations of other Chicago neighborhoods.