Salt Lake City’s homeless population prepares for winter

Posted at 9:18 PM, Nov 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-12 23:18:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- As the number on the thermometer continues to drop, the number of people in downtown homeless shelters begins to climb.

"I mean you can literally almost freeze to death out there now that the weather is getting colder, the problem is you wouldn't even know that you are freezing--you get so cold and your mind starts wandering and then you are in real trouble," said Robert Gephardt.

Gephardt used to sleep on the streets of Salt Lake City, then he found the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake. He is one of more than 100 men who slept there Wednesday night.

"Without these places, people would be desperate,” Gephardt said. “In fact, I was just wondering the last few days, a lot of people wandering around, I was wondering where are they staying, we still have room here.”

Across town at the Road Home shelter, Robyn Rasmussen isn't worried about keeping herself warm. It's her 2-year-old daughter who receives all the blankets.

"It's tough, but she's a trooper and you know it's the reason that we're all staying together, without her I don't know what we'd do," Rasmussen said.

While Rasmussen looks at Road Home as a family, others attempt to stay as far away from the shelter as possible.

"You got a lot of cultures that are living together and of course they are going to clash every now and then," said Jared Jenson.

Jenson said he prefers to keep to himself out on the streets. He has no idea what corner, alley or park bench he may call home each night.

"Just don't take life for granted; try to appreciate what you have,” Jenson said.

For more information about shelters for the homeless, visit the Road Home or Rescue Mission Salt Lake.