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Jan 19, 2010 8:47 PM by Stacy Daniel

Homeless crowd shelters in the rain

The wet weather is taking a toll on the homeless population. In Santa Barbara county, more than 6,000 people are homeless and need somewhere to go to get out of the rain. In San Luis Obispo county, as many as 4,000 people are homeless. When weather like this strikes, shelters are overloaded.

The situation created by the weather is so dire the Prado Day Center is staying open all night until the weather clears.
Ron Finley is homeless and lives on the streets of San Luis Obispo. He says"We're just doing what we can to just basically survive." Finley and the rest of the people at the Prado Day Center in San Luis Obispo are enjoying a rare moment out of the rain. Finley says, "Yeah I have been out in the rain and it's not a pretty sight when you're out there in the rain."

Because of the wet the center has extended it's hours. Until the rain eases up the center will be open from 4:30 P.M. to 8:30 A.M., giving the clients there at least one worry free night out of the bad weather.

Prado Day Center, Staff Member, Bill Welter says,"As we started off we had about 30 or 40 people that had been here and now as the weather has been getting worse we're getting between 60 and 70 people in the evenings." Because this center is normally intended for day use only it's not equipped with adequate cots and bedding.

But no one here seems to mind. It's warm and dry. And it's a whole lot better than the alternative. Jeremy Lewis is also homeless. He says, "I try to stay dry. I go under a bridge or I'll sit in a bus stop or do whatever it takes to get to the next day." The people here say the center is a life saver. Patti Sanders is also living on the streets. She says, "I have a place to come and stay warm and to shower and to stay warm, which is really important because getting sick is not what you need."

With more rain on the way the crowds at all central coast shelters are expected to grow.
The center is in need of volunteers. They're asking anyone who can lend a hand to come out and do so. If you know someone who needs a warm, safe place to go to get out of the rain, there are several shelters open throughout the central coast. You can find a list of the locations at ksby.com under News Links.

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