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Homeless man shares survival story in cold weather; area shelters say beds are filling up as a result of the temperatures

Posted at 5:16 PM, Feb 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 15:23:45-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Between the cold and windy conditions and the pandemic, area homeless shelters say beds are continuing to fill up.

The St. John’s Homeless Shelter says they’re doing what they can to make sure no one else has to spend the night in these temperatures as it's a major cause for concern for those who don’t have a place to stay the night.

“That’s just the reality, we’re all one paycheck away from homelessness. It can happen to me, it can happen to you", said Matthew Kadlec, Associate Executive Director at the St. John's Homeless Shelter.

Kadlec said it's a situation no one ever plans or wants to be in.

“Each person comes in with a story, someone’s son, someone’s sister, everyone is worthy of respect", Kadlec said.

As we navigate through these frigid conditions and negative degree wind chills many of us do have the luxury to be able to stay inside the comfort of our own homes or offices.

However, there are also many in our community who aren’t as fortunate and are seeking a place to stay warm.

“110 nightly but with the colder weather we see an increase of people utilizing our resources, so we are anticipating our numbers to be a little higher", Kadlec said.

Kadlec says anyone needing to seek shelter in these cold temperatures are encouraged to reach out for assistance.

One man who is a current resident at St. John’s homeless shelter shares his story of survival in the cold weather.

“To be outside in negative temps and not have the right attire to keep you warm, a lot of bad things can happen. The wind can really hurt you", said Edmund Ogeda.

This is the first time Ogeda has been faced with some of life’s biggest curve balls, he says a job loss and Covid related depression led to him losing everything.

“I became homeless on December 16th and I spent the first night that it snowed in an alley", Ogeda said.

He described that first night in the freezing temperatures as unbearable, something he never thought he’d have to go through.

“Well, that evening I didn’t think it was going to snow so I just laid down in an alley way figured I would get some rest. Next thing I know I wake up and I was literally almost frozen. Took me four hours to get from where I was to the Kwik Trip over the bridge. Every step I took felt like I was walking on glass", Ogeda said.

With nowhere to go the harsh weather took a toll on him.

He said it even got to a point where he thought 'this is it'.

“I thought my breath was so shallow then when I took a breath, I thought I was dying”, Ogeda said.

Ogeda said it took all of him to remain strong.

He said thinking about his children who live in Texas is what gave him strength.

And while these cold temperatures are expected to last a little longer the Micah Center which is part of the St. John’s homeless shelter says they’re ready to step up and help meet the demand for anyone else seeking shelter.

“Yeah, if we were out there this weekend and didn’t have a safe place to go to keep us from the weather we’d have a lot of bad things happen. A lot of people freezing, people getting frostbites really bad", Ogeda said.