Homeless escaping dangerously cold nights

Kirk Case

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Without a home or heat, these frigid temperatures could prove deadly.

The only thing that stands between Kirk Case and negative 10 degrees is a broken down bus and an electric space heater. Case arrived in Fort Wayne two weeks ago from Oregon. He’s a homeless vet with no family to speak of.

He was sleeping behind Walmart in a sleeping bag.

“I’m pretty much frozen,” he said. “My hands and my face get to the point that I can’t feel nothing. My lungs are starting to hurt.”

If it wasn’t for a man who saw him walking alone and offering a green sheet metal shelter, he’d freeze to death. He’s been sleeping in the bus for three days. That’s where he’ll ride out the cold.

For people like Alexander Govert, taking advantage of places like the Rescue Mission which provide overnight shelter in these frigid temperatures.

“It’s freezing cold and this place is a Godsend,” he explained. “This place is saving people from the cold and from frostbite and frost nip. The other day I had frost nip and I could barely feel my fingers, my feet. I was in so much pain and this place is saving people’s lives.”

The Rescue Mission is housing 40 to 50 people a night who need a warm place to stay. The facility holds 114 permanent beds and 75 temporary cots.

When temperatures drop below 32 degrees with windchill overnight, the doors are opened to all men who are not in trouble with the law or who have been barred for a violent reason.

Rescue Mission staff say they’re a first point of destination for anyone needing a place to stay on these dangerously cold nights. If they’re full, they’ll find somewhere for you to stay, most like the Salvation Army or Just Neighbors.