TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Cold southern Arizona winter can spell trouble for those living outside. It’s why southern Arizona organizations open up their doors at night to help the homeless.
Starting Thursday, Nov. 15, until March 30, the Salvation Army Hospitality House opens its doors overnight for anyone seeking shelter, as part of Operation Deep Freeze, when the temperature drops to 35 degrees and below, or 40 degrees and below with rain.
“It could be warm in the afternoon and then freezing at nighttime,” said Adrianna White, a Tucson woman who is currently homeless and living temporarily at the Hospitality House near Speedway Boulevard and Main Avenue. “Having nowhere is really heartbreaking. So it’s important to just know that there is somewhere you can be safe and be warm.”
It's a consequence of winter in Arizona. White and her friend Rebecca Boyd spend their nights in the temporary comfort of the shelter after a day of sunshine drops to unbearable temperatures.
"Especially thinking that there's nowhere to go. It's just very uncomfortable," Boyd said.
"It's just a safety factor because we don't want the homeless community to be out in the parks cold," said Corey Leith, Public Relations Director for the Salvation Army of Tucson. "When you're out there in the parks, and it's 12:00 p.m., you don't think it's going to drop to 35 degrees or even lower. They're going to be unprepared. That's why Operation Deep Freeze is so important at the Salvation Army. We want to help those who are in need."
The organization will make the call to accept anyone seeking shelter starting at 9:00 the morning of if Operation Deep Freeze is in effect, should they forecast the temperature dropping low enough. They will accept anyone seeking shelter up until 9:00 p.m.
Leith said that even though they receive a shipment of blankets from the federal government, donations are still needed to help keep people warm this winter, including coats, blankets, gloves, socks, and sweaters. Donations can be dropped off at any Naughton’s Plumbing location in Tucson or at the Hospitality House at 1002 N. Main Ave.
All of it will give these ladies some security, in this shelter, when its needed the most.
"You're able to actually sleep. Able to actually recoup and recover and be prepared for the day and be prepared for all the other challenges that we have in our lives, already," White said. "It makes it easier to exist as a person."