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Sleep-out spotlights homelessness, under Code Blue conditions

ALBANY (WRGB) -- Facing freezing nights -- and the dangers that go with them. A group of people took to a park in Albany Friday night to raise awareness of homelessness in these cold conditions. The sleep-a-thon is an annual event hosted by HAC, and they’re raising awareness during this weekend’s Code Blue conditions.

"I’ve seen it happen ... I've seen them freeze to death."

Arnold Brookshire says he's spent quite a few nights out on the streets.

"When this temperature changes and you're not prepared, you get cold out there,” Brookshire said.

He says it's not just about finding the best park bench on below freezing nights.

"On a night like this, you're outside, you go to every store at whatever corner you can get in to stay warm."

"During the winter especially we definitely see folks coming in ..."

Nikki Alcala is a nurse at one of interfaith homeless shelter's drop-in centers -- where Brookshire comes, and is one of an average of 40 guests they see a night.

"I definitely have folks that come in and visit me that have been staying at the parks, staying in the woods, staying down by the river, and I see a lot of frostbite,” Alcala said.

"It was cold, it was like 10 degrees, I was just crashing on bus chairs,” Daniel Rodriguez said. "That's when it was time to walk into a shelter."

Rodriguez says nights like tonight, with temperatures in the teens, are just about making it to morning.

"When you're smoking so many cigarettes and eating chili, trying to stay warm."

Both Rodriguez and Brookshire say people don’t realize how many individuals sleep on the streets -- and they’re thankful they found shelters like this one.

"There's no need to stay out there when you can find a place like this."

The Albany Homeless Action Committee will continue to raise funds for its outreach program and housing shelters.

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