Several homeless people take advantage of the services at the Volunteers of America Michigan everyday, keeping warm inside while the temperature outside hovers in the teens. But for those who refuse help, it can be a game of Russian roulette.
VOAMI's Vice President of Operations Patrick Patterson says, "It's dangerously cold. One of the leading causes of death in the homeless population is exposure. So the streets are very mean in terms of a place to stay."
And depending on the elements and the temperature outside, it can be roughly an hour before hypothermia sets in.
According to Ingham Regional Medical Center E.R. doctor, Dr. Mike Racine, "You start having mental changes, confusion, and you heart actually becomes irritable to a point where you go into cardiac arrest."
Thursday night the VOAMI and the Greater Lansing Homeless Resolution Network are planning a census of the area's homeless population.
Patterson says, "One of the real specific things is just introducing, making sure that folks are aware of the services and where they can be sheltered."
Last year about 700 homeless people were counted in Ingham County. But the number is expected to increase by ten percent.
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