New Haven Homeless Look for Warmth During Cold Snap

Some people in New Haven got out of the bone-chilling cold Thursday by warming up at a downtown public library that is doubling as a warming center.

"It’s a nice warm place," Joe S. said. "It’s a comfortable place cause I’m a reader, too."

He arrived when the doors opened at 10 a.m.

"I really wish they had opened up a little earlier," Joe told NBC Connecticut.

Across from the library on the New Haven Green, downtown safety ambassador Jeffrey Lee is bundled up.

"I’ve got some sweatpants on, a hoodie, couple jackets, two pairs of gloves," Lee said.

He said the clothing is never enough when it's so cold outside. 

Lee’s day began before the sunrise when the wind chill was well below zero along the shoreline.

"When I’m walking, I just got to turn around so it doesn't hit me," Lee said.

Lee’s main task in the biting cold is to direct the homeless to the city’s warming centers.

"If we see signs of hyperthermia or frostbite, we want to make the proper places known so we call either 911 or the non-emergency number to make sure that they’re getting help they need today," Lee said.

For people traveling by bus or train, the key is to minimize the wait time outside in the cold.

At the bus stop at the corner of Church and Chapel Streets, Anjanette Gilliam from New Haven pointed out someone spilled hot chocolate that froze on the bench.

At the West Haven train station in the early afternoon, the platform was empty as passengers waited indoors for their trains to arrive.

Todd Dery of Tolland said he made the mistake of forgetting to wear a hat while in New York City.

"I definitely didn’t dress warm enough to walk around in the city," Dery said. "Luckily we took a cab."

Dressed in her long coat and high boots, Amy Gallagher from Madison caught a train from West Haven to Grand Central to see a Broadway show.

"We plan to walk, we’re going to walk to our hotel then we’re going to walk to dinner and then to the show," Gallagher said, adding she thinks she has enough layers on.

Back at the New Haven library, Joe said he will have a bed tonight inside a shelter run by the Columbus House.

"Unfortunately, I’ve slept out in this stuff, you know, without any shelter, so I’m kind of used to the cold," he said. "Most of the shelters are full and I wish to be honest with you some of the churches would open up like a warming center for the night."

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