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Homeless residents seek shelter from rainfall on Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. - As rain fell across the Central Coast this week you could see some people scattering for cover from the wet weather.

Those who are homeless, meanwhile, often have to brave out the rain throughout much of the day.

Marlin Kirkhom says every early morning until about 4 pm he's stuck either walking around or visiting the local library.

"I don't know what brings people to the streets but obviously people can't afford rent," Kirkhom says. "Rent is so high out here. It's hard."

Kirkhom found solace with I-Help Monterey. He says every day around 4:30 a bus transports him to a randomly designated "host" site/church where he is given a meal and shelter.

Staff over at Dorothy's Drop-In Center in Salinas say every rainy season they see a high volume of homeless people seeking a safe place to ride out the storm.

It was much the same at "Gathering for Women" in Monterey, whose doors were open earlier than normal on at least one of the rainy days in an effort to serve homeless women in the community.

When they opened their doors, however, they found there wasn't the long line they were expecting.

The women who were there for shelter gave them a reason as to why.

"Women who are living in the tents see that it's raining outside and they don't want to leave their tent," says Gathering for Women Executive Director, Jennifer Dalton. "We're told they get so wet and cold that they find it hard to get their body temperature back up."

It's especially concerning since Dalton says many of the women who seek help are often in their 50s all the way through their 80s.

Those who are homeless but employed often leave their tents anyway so they can get a quick shower and meal before clocking in.

That "clocking in for work" feeling is what Marlin Kirkhom wants to feel some day. He says he's on his way to doing so as he's receiving help to find a job and a place to call home.

For now, though, he'll continue to spend his days finding warmth in the downtown area of Monterey. Even as the rain comes crashing down.


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