For many homeless people, an impending storm can be a death sentence.

When temperatures drop to dangerously low levels, advocates and officials often seek out those in need of shelter, in order to save them from freezing to death. While many cities have emergency winter action plans in place, others do not — leaving some of society’s most vulnerable members out in the cold.

Even though hypothermia can set in between 32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, designated shelters in many major cities don’t open until well after those conditions set in, a National Coalition for the Homeless survey found.

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