Santa Clara County officials are asking residents and unsheltered individuals to prepare for the cold weather as temperatures are expected to drop below freezing over the weekend.

An inclement weather advisory was declared for southern Santa Clara County, which is expected to last through Sunday, county officials said Friday.

County outreach teams are checking on homeless encampments, distributing blankets and ponchos to the unhoused, urging them to visit county shelters during the cold spell.

The Gilroy Armory shelter, located at 8490 Wren Ave., Gilroy, will have beds available for walk-ins for those unsheltered from the cold Friday and Saturday nights, officials said.

County officials also warned the unhoused to recognize the signs of hypothermia, and the “dangers associated with intoxication.”

Officials added:

“Sometimes, people without shelter use alcohol to keep warm. … This gives a false sense of warmth and can lead to heat loss.”

Victims of hypothermia are often older adults with inadequate food, clothing or heating; babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; individuals who remain outdoors for long periods, such as the homeless, hikers and hunters; and individuals who consume alcohol or use illicit drugs.

Those 65 years and older should set their home thermostats to maintain a comfortable body temperature.

County officials said:

“If that is not possible, they may choose to stay with family or friends, or maintain warmth by using extra blankets and sleeping bags, drinking warm beverages and avoiding alcohol, or wearing a hat and scarf and extra layers of clothes.”

Hotlines are available to direct unhoused people to services:

  • Call 2-1-1: For health and human services in Santa Clara County.
  • Shelter Hotline: Call the County Office of Supportive Housing at (408) 278-6420 to ask for assistance.
  • HomeFirst Homeless Helpline: Call (408) 510-7600 or e-mail the HomeFirst Helpline at outreach@homefirstscc.org. HomeFirst’s Outreach team provides access to emergency shelter, showers, laundry, meals and medical services.

Homeless individuals can register to receive text messages about services with three simple steps:

  1. Address a text message to: 888777
  2. Type BADWEATHER in the message
  3. Send the message

For cold weather safety tips in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese, visit: http://bit.ly/coldweathersafe.

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