How the Crossroads RI Outreach Team helps the homeless get warm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While temperatures in the single digits and sub-zero wind chills cause most people to hurry inside, the Crossroads Rhode Island Outreach Team heads out with a vehicle full of supplies.

On Thursday, team members gave Eyewitness News an inside look at the work they do, such as trying to convince homeless people to come inside and get warm.

“This is what we usually give out. It’s a coat sleeping bag for people that don’t actually want to come in,” outreach worker Martin Andino explained. “We give them out, although we recommend that they do come in.”

Andino and his colleagues spent Thursday checking in on people they work with every day, hoping they’ll take advantage of the shelter, but at least making sure they have supplies to stay safe.

“Provide them sometimes with the hats or the gloves, those necessities that they actually need to stay warmer if they’re not coming in,” Andino said.

The Outreach Team works at least five days a week all throughout the year to build relationships with homeless people in hopes of helping them find long-term housing.

“Everybody should have a warm place to go to,” Andino added.

Andino estimates they’ve convinced 10 people to seek shelter from the cold this week. Crossroads set up an overflow shelter so no one gets turned away.

“Because all of our regular shelters were full, our overflow shelter served 67 individuals: 57 men and women and then 10 people in families,” Crossroads RI President and CEO Karen Santilli said. “We had three families staying in our overflow shelter.”

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