How Chicago’s Homeless Handle Cold Days

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By Israa Alzamli

Homeless people everywhere face challenges every day. 

But the homeless in Chicago face a distinct challenge: cold weather. Chicago’s notorious cold makes living on the streets nearly impossible, and when shelters are closed during the day, homeless people need to look for other solutions.

One way to stay out of the cold is to use the train. Chicago’s Red Line runs through Rogers Park and Edgewater, and its the longest train line making it the best for shelter that lasts as long as possible.

If buying a train ticket is not possible, people can seek shelter in a 24-hour eatery. Places like Mcdonald’s or Dunkin Donuts can be more hospitable to the homeless and allow them to stay inside for many hours. 

Public libraries are also a good option for finding shelter. Libraries also offer many free resources like books, computers, and free events that could help fill time. The Edgewater Public Library, located at 6000 N. Broadway is open until at least 5 p.m. on most days, making a good choice for waiting until shelters open.

For when severe weather hits, warming centers are a good option. While there are none in Rogers Park or Edgewater, calling 3-1-1 can help connect residents in need to a shuttle system that can take them to the nearest warming center.

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