By SARAH HURWITZ
PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — As the Pacific Northwest prepares for colder weather and potential snow in the forecast, outreach organizations are ramping up to help those living on the streets.
“This is a small portion of what we do on a day-to-day basis,” Transition Projects Outreach Mobile Engagement Supervisor, Dorian Zuniga said. “We always have sleeping bags, we got tents we got tarps, we got gloves, masks beanies.”
He says they’ll be handing out crucial life-saving items.
“We’re just going to have double the amount so we can give it out to everybody we see,” Zuniga said.
Zuniga will be hitting the streets to check on folks.
“As soon as we make contact, the first thing we talk or we say to our neighbors we like to say is how you doing, what’s going on hey how’s the cold, if it’s cold outside is it too cold hey do you need something,” Zuniga said. “We usually just meet them at their basis of where they’re at.”
He says the major priority is getting people inside during the freezing temperatures.
“Sometimes people don’t want to tell us that they need our help so we just got to evaluate ourselves,” Zuniga said. “And if we see they’re in need like that we’re not going to leave their sight until we know they’re inside especially if they have a medical problem or issue.”
He says outreach teams typically work 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
But when cold weather hits, he says they’ll be working 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. making sure they get people inside to shelters or have the things they need to stay warm and safe.
“I’m not going to lie, it does take a very emotional toll on people especially when you do this job and you’re out there the helping people, you start to feel what they’re going through, you start to walk there with them,” Zuniga said. “So yes, we’re not in their position but we’re with them 24-7 on a day-to-day basis so it’s almost we share what they’re going through.”
Zuniga says everything Transition Projects gives out are donated items.
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