As parts of the US and Canada shiver in the icy grip of a “polar vortex” the plight of the homeless is brought into sharp focus.
In Chicago homeless shelters are reporting a huge increase in the number of people seeking sanctuary as temperatures plummet.
“A lot of shelters are full during the winter time. Like I said I have no other choice. You know survival is rough. So I go on the trains to keep warm, or in the train stations, or in the stores they let you go in there to keep warm,” said one homeless man.
The Pacific Garden Mission in the city is seeing the numbers of those that need help soar.
Phil Kwiatkowsk is from the Pacific Garden Mission:“Last night we had 1,050 people here. We have been around since 1877, a long time, and to be breaking records is amazing. We need more blankets, we need coats, gloves, hats, these things we need. The government does not support us, but the city will bring people here to for us to house. But we don’t get any financial support or clothing or things like that.”
As long as the temperatures remain low the numbers of those in need will continue to head for the overcrowded shelters.