Freezing temps leave some El Pasoans searching for warm shelter
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX 14) —
With below-average temperatures, some El Pasoans are out on the streets, with limited places to go for warmth.
Since Friday, the Opportunity Center said its had more people coming in for shelter to stay warm. KFOX 14 is told the center is housing about 400 people a night.
It was a bitter, chilling cold Saturday in the Borderland.
There is a chance some people might have seen homeless El Pasoan, Martin Rivas out in the thick of it. Without a home, Rivas said he’s doing whatever he can to stay warm.
"It's not very easy,” said Rivas. “It's kind of hard sometimes, but we have to find shelter wherever it is."
Rivas said though he's been getting by, the cold sometimes can seem unbearable.
"No matter how many piles of blankets and clothing you can put on, the hardness and the trouble is the one inside your soul,” said Rivas.
At the Opportunity Center, Director Ray Tulius said they’ve been doing all they can to take everyone in.
"If it's a matter of life or death, you don't decide who's going to die outside,” said Tullius. “You try to get everybody in no matter how crowded."
And it is crowded.
Tullius said things are busy for them right now. This mainly comes from taking in migrants who have been released in masses over the past week, and more needing shelter to stay warm.
"Last night we had 127 men, and 52 women just in our two major resource centers,” said Tullius.
Once homeless himself, Tullius said the Opportunity Center won't be turning anyone away who needs to get out of the cold.
"You open up a conference room, you open up another room, you open up a classroom,” he said. “The bottom line is you can't let people freeze in this weather."
Rivas and many others, are hoping the cold doesn’t last long.
The Opportunity Center told KFOX 14 it has taken in about 25 to 30 more people since temperatures have dropped.
The center is asking anyone who sees someone out on the streets in the cold to call the non-emergency police line at (915) 832-4400.