HOUSTON - Cold weather may have caused two deaths overnight Monday, according to Houston police Chief Art Acevedo.
Chief Acevedo tweeted Tuesday the two deaths are believed “to be the result of exposure to frigid weather.”
Two deaths overnight believed to be the result of exposure to frigid weather. Please help our Homeless Outreach Team & patrol get the word out to our homeless population to seek shelter from the cold as described by Mayor Turner. Hoping no more lives are lost tonight. https://t.co/YFu0rN54nW— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) January 2, 2018
Houston police say one victim was found dead around 7 a.m. Tuesday at 301 Hamilton Street, and another was found dead around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday at 100 Richmond Avenue near Spur 527. The cause of death will be determined by the Harris County Medical Examiner.
While it's unclear if the cold is to blame for sure, outreach officials want to avoid the scenario going forward.
"It's quite a challenge especially when people choose to live on the street and they're resistant to alternatives," said Lieutenant Patrick Plourde of HPD, who works in the mental division. "I mean, a lot of people do want the help."
Officer Gerardo Alaniz works for HOT or the HPD's Homeless Outreach Team.
"A lot of them don't really believe in the shelters, but you can't make them go," Alaniz said. "All we can do encourage them with the HOT team to get them off the streets."
The HOT team went to every encampment possible Tuesday night and offered rides to warming centers and shelters as well as blankets and gloves to who don't want to leave the streets. The Red Cross set up a warming shelter at South Main Baptist Church Tuesday night as well.
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