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Salinas Fire warns cold weather could lead to increase in homeless fires


SALINAS, CALIF. (KION-TV)- The cold days are creeping into the Central Coast. 

Those who don’t have a roof over their head are trying to stay warm. Some move from place to place. Others are staying put and looking to find resources.

Some can rely on things like heaters at home or new jackets. But what about those that have to sleep in the streets?

Some resources can help, like Community Human Services. COO Shawn Stone gives some examples.

“We have an outreach program, and we have a youth shelter,” Stone said. “Our street outreach program goes out into various areas within the community and connect with homeless youth to be able to give them support or connections to other services that might be applicable to them.”

But what about those who don’t want help? Salinas Fire Department Fire Chief Samuel Klemek says they will be ready.

“Typically, we deal with responses,” Klemek said. “We deal with the fires, the medical emergencies, but we’re also the eyes and ears in advance to let these other departments know what’s going on out there in the field. That’s an important part we play in it is really gathering the data for other agencies.”

Klemek says responding to each call is important. No matter who or what it’s about.

“We’ll keep responding to these calls,” Klemek said. “We’ll keep helping people. But it’s really that collaboration. That step toward the end goal of ending the homelessness.”

Does Stone agree?

“Definitely,” Stone said. “We always wanna maintain a healthy line of communication whenever first responders are wanting to communicate and provide information to better help those in the community who need. We always communicate.”

Another thing the chief said is right now, they’re gathering more data from all fires this past year to present in their annual budget in February of 2023.

Community Human Services will also be creating a new resource for the homeless. A new shelter in Monterey called the Shuman HeartHouse will look to open its doors in 2023.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46

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