TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Salvation Army’s Hospitality House went into Operation Deep Freeze mode for the first time this season.
Operation Deep Freeze is possible from Nov. 15 to March 30, when temperatures drop below 35 degrees or 40 degrees Fahrenheit with precipitation.
“The initial line up was we had quite a few people,” said Jerry Brillo, the shelter supervisor.
Brillo said the shelter usually has 40 beds available for men and 10 for women, plus children, during Operation Deep Freeze. It’s an addition to the people they already house, making a total of 104 people. For a night they’ll have a bed, a hot meal and a chance to shower.
For Edward Rodriguez, it’s his saving grace.
He said he wasn’t able to get an apartment, which led to his homelessness. He was approved for a 21 day stay at the shelter and is thankful he can stay there during the weather.
“I didn’t want to spend time out in the elements, it wasn’t going to be in my favor," Rodriguez said.
He knows how dangerous the drop in temperature can be. He said the last time he stayed out on the streets, things had a very different outcome.
“I spent a couple of night’s out there I got very sick I ended up in the hospital. For those that aren’t in shelters, I feel for them. But they have a way to try and come to the Salvation Army or any other institution," Rodriguez said.
It’s why he was more than happy to accept the help, but he knows, not everyone will. But his message is drop the pride before temperatures drop even lower.
“If you do need help, don’t be ashamed come on down their here for you," Rodriguez said.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, which is when they stop intake, the shelter had about 20 men and 4 women.
Brillo said they will re-evaluate if tomorrow morning with be a deep freeze night as well.
“It is a safety net and people can decide, but we’re here to serve them,” Brillo said.
The Salvation Army Tucson Hospitality House is located at 1002 N. Main Ave.
Donations are also needed to help keep people warm during the winter. Items needed include coats, blankets, gloves, socks, hats and sweaters.
Donations can be dropped off at the Hospitality House.
For more information about Operation Deep Freeze, call the Hospitality House (520)-795-9671.