Activists help get homeless into hotel

    <p>Volunteers are helping get area homeless into hotel rooms after freezing rain and snow fell nearly all day Tuesday. Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune{/p}

    MEDFORD -- Volunteers for Compassion Highway Project and the "Central Point What's Happening" Facebook community group banded together late Tuesday to get homeless people into hotel rooms and out of the freezing rain and snow.

    Debbie Saxbury, administrator for the Facebook group, said she was inspired by social media posts arranging to get warm drinks and extra blankets to area homeless people as temperatures hovered around freezing.

    Saxbury said she couldn't fathom not trying to "do something" when the combination of wet and freezing conditions could prove life threatening.

    "I have had two calls from homeless who are suicidal they can’t take being this cold," reads a Tuesday morning post from CHP director Melissa Mayne. "We can’t let them freeze to death. Shelters are full and there are no emergency warning shelters that can just take people right in!"

    Mayne said it was becoming increasingly common for her to encounter homeless who have full-time jobs and still live outside in the cold for lack of affordable housing. Saxbury reached out to the America’s Best Value INN off Riverside Avenue and was offered $45 rooms. Saxbury said it was unfathomable that all 45 available rooms could be rented for just $2,025.

    “Basically, we’re telling folks, ‘You can save a life, keep somebody from literally freezing to death, for $45!’” Saxbury said.

    Mayne said it was “pretty awesome and generous” for the hotel to want to help the homeless during freezing conditions.

    “As soon as we posted asking people to donate for rooms, we had an immediate response, like we already have 10 rooms paid for,” Mayne said, noting that volunteers would first reach out to the more vulnerable homeless, especially the elderly and those with children.

    Mayne said CHP volunteers would monitor homeless guests. Both Saxbury and Mayne said their goal is to pay for two nights for each homeless guest.

    Hotel management asked that room sponsors email info or drop money off by contacting “attn: Jay.”

    Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at

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