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PHOENIX -- A Valley homeless shelter is gearing up for the frigid weather forecast for Arizona over the next few days.

Cold snaps like this one are a busy time for Central Arizona Shelter Services. The staff is expecting more homeless to show up at the shelter, near 13th Avenue and Madison Street.

"We'll see people that are homeless come in from the streets because [the cold] is just too much for them," said Irene Agustin, director of fund development for the shelter. "So what we do is open additional beds."

The shelter normally beds about 670 people a night but Agustin said with the cold weather, she's anticipating around 800 for at least the next few nights.

"In opening our relief shelter, there's obviously manpower involved in having extra staff laying out the extra mattresses and that sort of thing," Agustin said.

She said the shelter could use volunteers for those tasks and others and that financial donations are always accepted.

CASS will be working with Phoenix police and other agencies to try to get the homeless out of the cold. But Agustin admits that some people will refuse the help.

"They're reluctant to come," Agustin said. "For some, there's mental health issues. Some have had run-ins with the law and just don't want to mess with it. Some are loners."

Agustin said those who elect to stay outside will be given a blanket.

The shelter is located at 230 S. 12th Avenue and the telephone number is (602) 417-9800.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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