CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As the Arctic blast continues to hold an icy grip on Charlotte, there is now a widespread impact as city leaders work to help the homeless.
On Friday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced a new effort to help homeless people in the brutal cold. Meanwhile, the freezing temperatures are also taking a toll on infrastructure.
A water main break Friday morning left several homes and businesses without water, including a Harris Teeter and a Smashburger, which was forced to temporarily close. Crews were able to replace the pipe and restore water Friday afternoon after working for hours on Randolph Road in Cotswold.
At the same time, CMPD showed off a new weapon against winter from donations to the department: a bundle of blankets.
It comes after an officer encountered a homeless man in the brutal cold.
“We had nothing for this guy, nothing to warm this guy up,” said Rob Tufano, a CMPD spokesman. “This is life and death kind of stuff out there at 20 degrees, you're in boxer shorts, hanging out under a bridge.”
In response, the Steve Smith Family Foundation donated $2,000 to CMPD to pay for cold weather items like blankets.
“We're excited that these items will be used by CMPD to be literally in their cars and they're armed to be able to distribute to families in need,” says Gerard Littlejohn, executive director of the Steve Smith Family Foundation.
CMPD says they're now starting a drive to collect additional blankets.
“Something that we probably all take for granted, this is a big game changer for people living out on the streets in our community,” says Tufano.