Sacramento’s Homeless Offered a Break from the Cold

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SACRAMENTO --

Northern California's cold snap has been particularly tough on one group of residents. And if you can't imagine being homeless, think of it like the longest, hardest walk.

"Me, and there's another lady who came in first, and I'm like, 'she shouldn't be out here. I shouldn't be out here,'" said Jessica Kulczynski, a woman who's been living on the streets of Sacramento.

This time of year, it's a particularly cold, hard walk.

"You start with a tank top. You've got a T-shirt, you've got a sweater, you've got a hoodie. You've got scarves," Kulczynski lists-off the clothes she wears to keep warm.

And she says maybe the hardest part is homelessness is like a long walk nowhere.

But not for everybody. As the temperatures have tumbled down, a new option opens up for some folks trying to survive the streets of Sacramento.

It's a partnership between Sacramento's faith community, nonprofits and government agencies. Until April 1, 100 homeless people every night will be bused to local churches, to get a warm, clean place to sleep and to get out of the cold.

"We don't like to turn anybody away. So we try not to. And we haven't turned anybody away this year," said Thomas Platina of Capitol Christian.

Every evening around sundown, they check their weapons at the door and check themselves into the program for the night.

They are assigned a clean sleeping bag and they are bused to a church great room or gymnasium. Monday night, it was Capitol Christian School, and you can tell there they don't approach ministering to the homeless as a chore or an obligation.

They give them a meal, and a hair cut, nail polish if they'd like to paint their nails and even give them a quick massage.

"I can put my burden down a little bit. It's still heavy. But it's not like 'gosh. I'm the only one. Nobody cares,'" Kulczynski said.

Jessica acknowledges the program isn't for everyone. There's eating and sleeping in the company of strangers and rules prohibiting drugs and alcohol. But for her, and others like her, it's a place to go -- a destination on that long walk nowhere.

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