Dangerous weather threatens Detroit's homeless

Posted at 12:38 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 11:48:47-05

As we continue to follow near record-breaking temperatures across metro Detroit the CEO and president of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries is warning the public, to not give cash and coats to the homeless.

Chad Audi says in this weather the only way to help is to get people off the streets and inside.

"In weather like this cash does not help people. What helps them is to bring them to a warm place."

He says the message is simple, when temperatures outside are below zero degrees it's not about comfort anymore, it's about survival and the only way to get through this dangerous weather is find warm shelter.

Audi is concerned in temperatures that break the zero mark, dipping to minus four or colder, cash and coats will only provide temporary relief.

"Some of the individuals outside get warm by drinking, and that will cause a heart attack. Some will try to help by giving them coats and telling them to stay warm outside and that will cause frostbite.”

It's the compounding health problems from exposure to the elements like frostbite and hypothermia he wants to avoid.

"We will feed them, we will shower them, give them a nice place to sleep."

Sam Bunkley, who has been living in the shelter since October says he is lucky to call the facility at Third and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, home.

"It's horrible out there, it's freezing, it's really cold,” said Bunkley

James Anthony, another client, says he has lived on the streets before and would never do it again.

"I've seen people go outside, feel like they're warm and then the people wake up the next day and they're froze outside. I've seen it,” said Anthony.

The organization has four shelters across the city.
Audi says they are each beyond capacity, but they will not turn away a single person.

He says they work with the city to bring in extra cots, blankets and to make sure they are in compliance with city codes.

"Weather like this, it is a matter of life and death."

If you see or know someone who needs a warm place to stay, the Detroit Rescue Mission can pick them up.
Their 24-hour phone number is (313) 993-4700.

Shelter Locations:
12900 W. Chicago - Women and Children
3535 Third St. - Men

Shelter/Warming Center Locations:
3840 Mack - Women and Children
13320 Woodward - Men