San Jose

Santa Clara County to Investigate Cold Weather Deaths

Santa Clara County is investigating the possibility that the most recent series of Bay Area storms may have been deadly.

While the County of Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner investigates, homeless shelters are trying to do more to get everyone out of the cold.

At the Bascom Community Center, which will be a warming center Thursday night, the goal is to get as many people out of the rain and cold as possible.

"If you’ve been drinking or had something to drink to try and warm up, you’re more likely to get sick and die, because you don’t realize how cold it actually is. It’s a very dangerous time for people," said Andrew Urton, Homefirst CEO.

From East Palo Alto to Gilroy, the county will have daytime warming centers at libraries, community centers and senior centers and expanded shelter services throughout.

"This is giving me a safe place to put my head at night and get my life back in order," said Rene Gilbert from San Jose.

People can call 2-1-1 to find centers and services near them and find out where they can donate items like blankets and hats.

Homefirst, the largest provider of homeless and veteran services in Santa Clara County, is also helping people at encampments.

"We’re taking warming kits to warm hands and hats that have been made by a local charity, scarves, jacket and whatever we have so people can utilize them," said Urton.

The Bascom Community Center will become a warming center at 9 p.m.

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