Frigid Temperatures Lead to Shelter Overcrowding

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More and more people are turning to shelters to stay warm during the near-zero temperatures in Connecticut.

    Some area homeless shelters have expanded their hours in this cold snap to operate around the clock to help people in need.

    One of those is the Immaculate Conception men's shelter on Park Street in Hartford.  That's where Reinaldo Albarran is staying.

    "Really cold. Really, really cold, you know. I was out there for a while. I started to turn blue when they told me to come in here," said Albarran.

    The shelter typically houses 140 people a night but they've had at least 20 extra people all week. They estimate half of them are staying during the day when the shelter would typically be closed.

    "Since Martin Luther King Day we've been open 24-seven. Normally the shelter's only open from four o'clock in the afternoon until eight o'clock the next morning," said Fred Lynn, the shelter's executive director.  "We have a no turn away policy.  We're not going to turn anyone away."

    Other shelters are also packed, said Lynn.

    "The weather is bad. It's too cold out there," said Willie Abrom, who is staying at the Immaculate Conception shelter.

    At Immaculate Conception, they expect to be open around the clock through Sunday and then expect to return to normal hours when the weather warms up.

    "I would not even want to think about what would happen if people were sleeping outside right now," said Lynn.