HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The frigid below-zero temperatures can be tough for anyone, especially the homeless population.
Officer Jim Barrett heads the Homeless Outreach Program for the Hartford Police Department, and he’s on a mission ahead of Friday night’s below-zero temperatures.
“I’ll be working all night tonight trying to locate these guys and find somewhere warm,” Barrett said.
If he can’t find somewhere warm, he’s bringing warmth to the homeless through a mobile unit that is full of essentials like sleeping bags, thermals, food and shoes.
DJ and Miles are homeless, living in a structure under an overpass in Hartford.
“Life’s hard enough as it is, but then you add this temperature and the wind, your hands stop working,” DJ said.
“It’s a real danger,” Miles said. “I’m from Minnesota, and I’ve had friends who have died of exposure, so I know ten or 20 minutes out in those temperatures can be fatal.”
They say homeless shelters and warming centers are often overcrowded, and they personally haven’t had positive experiences. So, they’re living on the street, but they’re not forgotten about.
“When I hear [Officer Barrett] say his name, it’s more or less, ‘ok, that’s a friend coming to check on me,’ not ‘oh, the cops are here,’” DJ said.
Barrett says yes, the cops are here to protect and serve.
“Our goal is to get these guys into somewhere warm so they can stay alive,” Barrett said.