A good Samaritan and a state trooper are being credited for saving the life of a homeless man, who was found on the side of the highway in below-zero temperatures.
The man, who wasn't able to get into a local Salvation Army for shelter, instead spent Monday night in the heated lobby of the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota State Patrol said on Facebook.
The man was trying to make his way from Grand Rapids to a shelter in the Twin Cities, when he stopped on the side of Highway 169 in Aitkin County in an attempt to warm up, FOX 9 reports.
That's when Mary Dinger – an advocate for the homeless in Aitkin County – spotted him, called 911 and let the man sit in her car until the State Patrol arrived, the news station says.
Trooper Glen Bihler, along with an ambulance, arrived at the scene to find the man and check him out. He didn't have frostbite or another medical condition, so he wasn't transported to the hospital, the Facebook post says.
Bihler instead took the man to a fast food restaurant and bought him dinner, and then arranged for him to spend the bitter-cold night in at the sheriff's department, the post notes.
Samaritan's appeal for homeless help
Dinger also wrote about finding the man, who she says is named Adam, on her Facebook page, and discussed the need for homeless shelters in her community and greater Minnesota.
A report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released last year claims the homeless number stands at around 7,500 people – and that homelessness in general is on a downward trend.
But the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, which conducts a survey of the state’s homeless every three years, estimates that on any given night, there are around 4,000 people homeless in Minnesota.
While most homeless are found in the metro area, this report by Wilder Research from 2011 shows the issues cities in greater Minnesota (in this case, Duluth) also face as they try to tackle homelessness.
In an effort to help the thousands of homeless Minnesotans, many organizations have considered expanding or building new shelters, but there still isn't enough space for many who need a safe place to sleep – especially in the cold winter months.
For a list of homeless shelters in the state, click here.