Miscommunication being blamed for homeless men forced outside in below freezing temps

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Not even two weeks after a homeless man and woman were found dead in the snow, a handful of men came to our Cleveland 19 News studios looking for help after they say they and dozens of other men were told they had to get out of the men's shelter run by Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries even though temperatures were below freezing.

"It's too cold to be out here. If you are out here, you get desperate enough, you'll do something that's stupid. Why force a person to do something stupid?"  Raushon Ingram said.

Ingram is a homeless man staying in the emergency overflow part of the shelter.

A bank temperature sign showed just 7 degrees late in the morning.

"This morning I woke up, and I looked at the news, and it was ten degrees. So, like eight o'clock he came in and was like, 'oh it's 24 degrees, everybody out,'" Deboris Brandon said.

Brandon is staying in the emergency overflow part of the men's shelter at 2100 Lakeside Avenue.

Mike Moguel is the Director of Operations at the shelter.

"This isn't bad. There is no wind blowing right now. There is a rule and regulation that was set up up by the resident council to guideline our weather advisory," Moguel said.

The written guidelines read that no one in the overflow part of the shelter gets to stay inside during the day unless the temperature is below zero or the wind chill is below 15 degrees.

"If there is no place to go, we don't put them out. There is always places to go. There's public libraries. There's rec centers. There's City Hall. There's always warming places when we put people out. If there was no place for anyone to go we would not put people out."

At the time the men came to us for help, there were no warning centers opened by the city, and security at city hall told us that they knew nothing about homeless people being allowed to stay there to get warm.

Later, a representative for Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries told us that their facility would be opening to men in the emergency overflow shelter at 1:45 p.m., however, it was unclear how many of the men would know that they were allowed back inside before four. Many of the men had scattered since they were told to leave in the morning.

The representative also said that there had been a miscommunication, and that the Director of Operations for the men's shelter was unaware that the Bishop William Cosgrove Center, where many of the men go for the day, was closed today.

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