Outdoor sleeping and living is best for the spring and summer months, and some homeless people travel out West during the more harsh winter months. Those who do brave the cold find shelter from the wind and cold temps in doorways, boxes, and under tents or blankets. Layering and frequent hot beverages are crucial to winter survival. A few homeless individuals are lucky enough to have an insulated sleeping bag or a down coat to keep them warm, but most will find outdoor living too difficult to maintain for more than a few days and try to find shelter elsewhere.
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Staying Warm in Shelters
There are a few limited beds available in most urban areas, by way of shelters. These shelters are in high demand and most try to cater to families or women with children. A homeless person will have to wait in line for several hours, and sometimes up to an entire day, to reserve a bed for the night. The next night, he will have to repeat the process if he would like a bed again. Many people who have waited will not be granted a bed because there aren't enough for everyone. Homeless shelters are not usually a reliable source of warmth overnight, but shelters may offer a hot meal for homeless individuals and a warm place to sit and eat for at least a few minutes. Some homeless shelters also have shower stalls or bathtubs available for rent, and sometimes for free.
Staying Warm in Public Buildings
Perhaps the best place for a homeless person to find shelter during cold weather is to find a 24-hour coffee shop to frequent during the colder times of night, and sleep during the day, while the temperature will be at its highest. Other options for indoor warmth include public libraries, subway stations, bus stations, in the subway train and bank lobbies that are open 24 hours. It is not difficult to find a warm place to pass the time. It is much harder to find a warm place to sleep without being bothered. Homeless individuals usually stick to quiet, residential areas to avoid being bothered by passersby.
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