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Arizona shelters ready for cold weather

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch from Saturday morning through Tuesday morning for Maricopa and Pinal counties. And, as KJZZ’s Mark Brodie reports, that means Valley homeless shelters are getting ready to provide more services.

MARK BRODIE: Central Arizona Shelter Services says it opens more beds when there’s excessive heat, rain or temperatures below 40. CASS’ Irene Agustin says the overflow option includes an additional 250 beds, but that the facility can always put more mats on the floor. She says the cold can sometimes sneak up on the homeless.

IRENE AGUSTIN: With the heat, you know it’s gonna be hot in the evening, so you can plan a little bit better. When the temperatures get really cold, it’s hard to gauge that, especially when in the daytime, it’s nice and it’s enjoyable to be outside. But, when you’re settling in for the night and suddenly you’re cold and you just can’t bear it anymore, it’s good to have an option to get out of the elements, and that’s what we’re providing.

BRODIE: Agustin says CASS also works with street outreach teams, to try to help people who, for whatever reason, don’t come to the shelter.