Operation Deep Freeze kicks in as temps dip below 35 degrees

Operation Deep Freeze kicks in as temps dip below 35 degrees

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Operation Deep Freeze has kicked in for Thursday, Dec. 21, in Tucson as temperatures are expected to d rop below 35 degrees.

That means shelters across Tucson are open for the homeless or for people who need a place to get out of the cold. Most shelters will be filled to capacity.

The Salvation Army is preparing for 50 to 70 homeless men and women for the night on top of the 100 who are already housed at the shelter at 1002 North Main. It's also asking for donations of coats, blankets, gloves sock and sweaters.

Most of those who will be housed during Operation Deep Freeze are men who are looking for temporary shelter.

The Salvation Army will be serving dinner at 5 p.m. and it's thought some of those will then stay for the night.

At 6 p.m. the dining room will be converted to a shelter for the night.

"We can house up to 70 extra beds," said Corey Leith, the public relations director for the Army.

It's on a first come, first serve basis. The doors close at 9 p.m. If the shelter fills up before then, they will try to find another shelter that has room.

"When it's full here, that's when we talk to other organizations to see if they have space," Leith said. "If we're able to provide transportation, we will."

When someone checks into the Salvation Army, they must be aware of the rules.

"The have to give up their cell phone, they have to come in sober and they get patted down," Leith said. "We want to make sure they're safe while they're here."

David and Patricia Young have made the decision to stay on the street for the night because of the rules on couples and dogs.

The couple, married three years ago, lost their home last May and this is their first winter on the street. They also have four dogs.

Most shelters will separate men and women and most do not allow dogs.

"These dogs are our family," they echoed. "We don't want to be separated from them."

But they harbor no hard feelings against the shelters and say they understand the rules.

"A lot of people might not like dogs," David Young said. "There might be people who do something to set the dogs off."

Two of their dogs are pit bulls which can be intimidating.

"They get a bad rap," said Young. "They want to lick you to death, they were raised right."

Still, in a shelter there's always a chance something could go wrong.

"I worry about that because I don't want somebody getting hurt," he said. "They can scare people, they can scare children."

The Salvation Army says it recognizes many homeless have dogs and is working on a plan which may, in the future, allow dogs.

"But right now, we just don't have the facilities," said Leith.

Dogs are allowed for mealtimes because there is space for them to be housed temporarily.

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