“It’s a problem if there’s one person that doesn’t have the resources that other people have,” Josh Bray, CEO of Safehouse Outreach, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Atlanta police department’s HOPE unit, or Homeless Outreach Proactive Enforcement, is tasked with helping get people of the streets.
“Their mission has always been to engage homeless people, find out what their needs are and get them into long-term solutions,” Carlos Campos, police spokesman, said.
Last week when a winter storm brought snow and sub-freezing temperatures to Atlanta, APD officers picked up approximately 90 people, giving them rides to shelters or warming centers, Campos said. That number was higher due to the extreme weather, Campos said.
The deaths blamed on cold weather weren’t limited to downtown Atlanta.
In Cobb County, investigators believe hypothermia may have also contributed to three additional deaths in December. And on Dec. 19, one person died from hypothermia in Butts County, about 55 miles southeast of Atlanta, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.