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Atkinson often makes the rounds with the VOA-Utah vans to make sure people have what they need and to also encourage them to come inside.
"If they have a tent, protective clothing and bedding, and are used to staying outside, they say they choose to live this way," Atkinson said. "They want to keep their independence."
How to help:
Cash gifts and donations of warm bedding, sleeping bags, thick socks, hats, waterproof gloves and boots are welcomed at the Road Home at 210 S. Rio Grande St. in Salt Lake City and the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, 463 S. 400 West. To donate to Volunteers of America-Utah, go to www.voaut.org or send checks to 435 Bearcat Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84115. To contact the outreach van about individuals in need, call 801-631-7584.
However, those individuals with disabilities or mental illnesses need an extra nudge , Atkinson said.
"We don’t want anyone to freeze to death or to get frostbite," Atkinson said, "and in this weather that’s easy to do."
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