Cold temperatures make life harder on the homeless

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – As the weather continues to get colder, people living on the streets in the Lowcountry will have to seek warmer shelter.

The cold temperatures make shelters fill up fast, but some are left to sleep on the streets out in the cold.

"I think I would be out on the streets, where I used to be," said shelter resident Jonathon Serrano.

The streets are exactly where Serrano used to live. He now stays at the Salvation Army Shelter for men in Charleston.

"It's harder in the winter time," Serrano said.

Over the past few days the temperatures have dropped and the number of people wanting to stay in shelters has gone up.

"We haven't had to turn anyone away in the summer or spring, but we are at capacity now," said Nick Oliver with the Salvation Army.

Oliver says that it is hard to turn people away and that there are only 19 spots in the shelter.

"There's definitely a need for more shelters, especially free shelters," Oliver said.

Oliver says most people stay for months at a time.

"These guys have their own bed, have their own locker, we know them by name, they're here every day," Oliver said. "It's a safe place for them to eat and rest and get back on their feet."

During the day, the shelter closes down and the men head out to look for work, but Serrano says when the temperatures go south, so does his morale.

"It's rough with the weather to be out there," Serrano said. "The classic thing to say is to blame the economy, it sounds cliché, but it's true."

There are other places people can go for help. The Crisis Ministries in downtown Charleston on Meeting Street offers food and shelter. Tri-county Family Ministries in North Charleston offers food, clothing, medical care and counseling.

Oliver said the Salvation Army isn't able to expand the shelter to have more beds or to include omen and children.

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