MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many of us are fortunate enough to have a warm house to retreat to when temperatures dip below zero.

But many people across the Twin Cities are desperately trying to get into shelters.

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“We do find people every morning on our welfare checks when the wind chill factor is going down to the negative 20s and they have spent the night outside holed up in tents,” said John Tribbett, of St. Stephens Human Services in south Minneapolis.

He and his team are the first line of defense for those who are defenseless against subzero temperatures. They work with others to make sure no one is exposed to temperatures that can kill.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis police do more than just fight crime, they also check under bridges and in urban encampments where those in need might be suffering from the cold.

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“We don’t want anybody hurt, we don’t want people getting frostbite, or, God forbid, dying,” said Sgt. Matt St. George.

The Minneapolis Police Department is part of a partnership designed to make sure no one is left out in the cold.

George says places like St. Stephens, the Salvation Army and churches help by opening their doors to people he picks up off the street.

“We do get the 911 calls where someone is just asking for help,” he said. “There are other times where we will come across them in our travels…we make sure the officers know that it’s time for them to start engaging people before it becomes a problem.”

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Minneapolis Police will continue to aid and assist the homeless population until temperatures warm up.

Reg Chapman