EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - There wasn’t much of a transition from hot to cold and it caught some Tri-State homeless shelters off guard.
An estimated 400 people in Vanderburgh County are homeless. With this sudden drop in temperatures, organizations that help the homeless tell us they need some help.
Susan Steinkamp has worked with the homeless community for Aurora Evansville for the last 15 years. She said the weather this year has been quite the surprise.
"It's devastating for folks who are sleeping outside. Last week they were happy to have a T-shirt and shorts. This week, that's really uncomfortable."
Aurora helps the homeless community get off the streets and into affordable housing but they are also a reliable source for the winter essentials.
"What we need, is these nice, warm, waterproof, insulated that can keep somebody warm, even when it's two-degrees."
Steinkamp said one of the most beneficial items for the homeless community comes from plastic grocery bags.
"The great thing about it is, it gives a little bit of cushion if you're laying on the ground and it's a moisture barrier. The plastic bags don't absorb moisture, so it can keep your blankets a little bit drier."
Just in the last week, Aurora says it's seen a tremendous increase in winter essentials from the homeless community.
"They're really scrambling looking for a sweatshirt, a jacket."
One of the most important winter essentials is winter coats.
"Everybody who's walked in has been looking for warm clothes."
Vanderburgh County is working on several projects that will provide affordable housing and get more homeless people off the streets.
Evansville Rescue Mission officials also said they need winter items:
- Underwear (all sizes)
- Gently used pants (sizes 32-38)
- Winter coats
- Winter accessories (gloves, hats, etc...)
- Disposable razors
- Bus tokens
Aurora is in need of the following:
- Winter coats
- Durable, waterproof winter gloves
- Men’s tennis shoes
- Wool socks