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MoCo Homeless Shelter Took Extra Steps To Bring Homeless In During Cold Snap

Montgomery County homeless shelter resident Anthony Frasier and MCCH executive director Susie Sinclair Smith have a moment.
WAMU/Elliott Francis
Montgomery County homeless shelter resident Anthony Frasier and MCCH executive director Susie Sinclair Smith have a moment.

As frigid temperatures drove the homeless off the streets and into shelters, one facility in Maryland took extra measures to provide a warm place to stay for certain homeless people who are reluctant to seek shelter.

When temperatures took a nose dive Monday evening, 160 homeless men sought shelter at Rockville's Home Builders Care Assessment Center. But as more homeless filled that shelter yesterday evening, officials with the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless couldn't help but think of the county's homeless residents who camp out in many of the parks and woodland areas in upper Montgomery County.

Many of these individuals often resist leaving their camps to escape the cold, and according to Susie Sinclair Smith, executive director of the coalition, extra measures are needed to try and keep them safe in this extraordinarily cold weather.

"Montgomery County police sent out squads to these encampments with people in the woods to try and persuade them to come in. If they're not willing to come in, we let them know that they are presenting a danger to themselves and other and the police can actually require them to come in from the cold," she said.

No one had to persuade Anthony Frazier to come to this shelter. Frazier, who suffers with chronic arthritis has been sheltered here before and said that if he hadn't made it to the shelter over the past two nights, only one thing was for sure.

"I'd probably be dead," he said. "Thank God there's a place where you can go where you have a roof over your head. To me it means a lot, a whole lot."

Recent figures show there are slightly more than 1,000 homeless individuals living in Montgomery County.

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