Salvation Army gearing up to help homeless on cold nights

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DENVER -- With cold temperatures in the forecast, the Salvation Army is stepping up its efforts on the streets, distributing blankets and encouraging people to stay in its shelters.

Salvation Army spokesman Premek Kramerius said Sunday night, about 500 people stayed at Salvation Army shelters. On cold nights, as many as 800 people sleep in their shelters.

On Monday night, Kramerius teamed with another Salvation Army member, Kary Woodard, to pass out blankets and gloves to homeless people.

The two drove around in the Salvation Army's "Search and Rescue" vehicle. Their route changes each night, depending on where people have seen homeless people during the day.

"Our purpose is to let them know they are not along and someone cares about them," Kramerius said.

Kramerius said the Salvation Army is in close communication with the city of Denver.

When shelters get too full, the Salvation Army alerts the city to open overflow shelters. The city and other organizations help bus homeless people from one shelter to another if one is too crowded.

"We want to make sure they survive the whole night so we try to help them as much as we can," Kramerius said.

During cold nights, Kramerius said he's concerned when he sees homeless people who are drunk or high because it's easier for them to freeze to death.

He hopes the blankets and outreach help make sure that doesn't happen.

The Salvation Army is asking for coats, gloves and jackets for the homeless.