Local homeless shelters bringing out overflow beds during colder temperatures

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The temperature is supposed to drop Friday night, and the city wants to make sure the homeless have a warm place to sleep.

On Friday, Oklahoma City is activating its winter shelter contingency plan for the homeless.

Local homeless shelters opened overflow beds for those seeking to get out of the cold weather.

"Just doing the best that I can do like anybody else in the world," said Christopher Reynolds.

Reynolds is one of about 1,200 people living on the streets or transitional housing.

"I just ain't got no where to go right now until I get to where I'm going," he said.

On warmer nights, you might catch Reynolds sleeping outside, but he said that won't be the case Friday night.

"I stay in the shelter until I can figure out what to do," he said.

When the temperatures reach below freezing, at 32 degrees, that's when the plan is activated.

"We will open up for 14 beds with men, and we will have them in our chapel," said Michael Bateman, executive director of Jesus House.

The Jesus House is just one of several shelters helping with the contingency plan. The City Rescue Mission, Salvation Army and Grace Rescue Mission is also providing extra beds.

"We do get inundated with cold weather and the homeless needing places to go," Bateman said.

Still, Dan Straughan with the Homeless Alliance said some people choose to stay outside.

"Last winter, we had 16 homeless people pass away during the course of the winter - some staying in vacant houses and starting a fire and getting out of control, and some actually froze to death," he said.

Straughan's hoping, this year, things will change.

"Certainly, on bad nights, we were sheltering 200 people that wouldn't normally come in," he said.

This year, the city is making sure first responders, local hospitals and churches have a list of the shelters so they can direct someone who is homeless to an overflow shelter.

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