Bay Area freezing temperatures concern homeless and advocates

Freezing temperatures are expected across the Bay Area with overnight lows expected to drop into the low 30s. 

"For me, it gets really cold after 1 o’clock in the morning," said Jonathan, who is unhoused.  

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch starting Sunday night for most of the Bay Area. Jonathan is living in his camper in San Jose and says a few of his windows are broken, but he’ll do as much as he can to keep the cold air out.  

"The blankets are all on, the tarps are down, it blocks out the wind but not really. It’s still cold in there," Jonathan said.  

Overnight freezing temperatures and frost are expected until Wednesday. Santa Clara County emergency officials say warming centers, which include public libraries throughout the county, will be available until 9 p.m. at various locations. 

Still, homeless advocates are concerned that won’t be enough.  

"It’s not freezing during the day, it’s freezing overnight but what we need is overnight warming locations when it’s actually the coldest," said Shaunn Cartwright, Founder of the Unhoused Response Group.   

Santa Clara County offers two overnight warming center locations for anyone without housing. They also recommend people stay out of the cold as much as possible, seek shelter and bundle up with clothing.  

Cartwright says so far this month, 15 people have died on the streets in Santa Clara County for various reasons. But most people living on the streets are unaware of when a big change in the weather is coming, so advocates alert them, getting them to shelters and giving them warming supplies.  

"It was a warm week after the floods. Now a cold snap. The people out there are just extremely vulnerable. We try to let them know this is what’s coming up," said Pastor Scott Wagers, with CHAM Ministry.    

Emergency officials also ask people not to burn flammable materials in enclosed spaces to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and to drink plenty of water with electrolytes if possible.