Homeless Deaths Due To Cold Snap

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OKLAHOMA  CITY — The frigid temperatures have proven too much to bear for some homeless Oklahomans. There are reports of at least five people dying since the cold front moved in.

One man was found behind a laundromat on SW 59th Wednesday night. While the Medical Examiners Office works to determine a cause of death, homeless advocates believe the bone chilling temperatures were at least a factor if not the cause.

“Cold weather is very dangerous for our homeless folks who sleep outside,” said Jennifer Thurman Deputy Director Homeless Alliance. “A young woman who came to the shelter said she slept under an overpass last night. She told us it took her 90 minutes to warm up her hands in order able to feel her fingers again.”

Gretchen Pace said she knows some of them. “We’ve had a 19-year-old boy pass away out here on the streets. We’ had, the other guy he was 47. They found one on the creek over by the day center and the other two were older men.” She also said there are two missing women that no one in their community has been able to locate.

Pace became homeless after a motorcycle accident caused her to suffer from seizures, making it difficult to find work. Even with the resources offered by the Homeless Alliance and the Jesus House, she finds these bone chilling temperatures difficult to survive.
“Last night I slept in four pairs of pants, three shirts, two hoodies and four coats to stay warm and I still felt like I was freezing,” said Pace.

Unfortunately, officials said there are people who have not taken advantage of the facilities because in some cases they have pets, an addiction or even mental disabilities making them more of a challenge to house.

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