At Least Five Homeless People Froze To Death Last Week


She died where she lived: at the bus stop.

Willie Mae White loved to dance. She told stories about her boyfriends. She treated everyone with kindness. She was homeless.

On Tuesday, White froze to death at the Joliet, Illinois bus stop she called home. She was 55 years old.

“She doesn’t have to worry about being cold anymore,” an acquaintance, Audrey Laye, told the Herald-News.

Living on the streets is dangerous any time of year, but that’s especially true when temperatures dip below freezing. In this past week, as a cold front swept through the Midwest and Northeast, at least five homeless people have died from the cold.

They include:

Willie Mae White, 55, of Joliet, who died in sub-zero wind chills Tuesday morning.

Glenn Donovan, 53, of Highland Falls, New York. He was found in the woods near the Hudson River on Friday night.

A Philadelphia man in his 30s. His body was found in the freezing cold Thursday morning. Officials have not been able to determine his name yet.

A Jersey City man in his 40s. “Even the people who saw him on a daily basis said they did not know his name,” wrote The Jersey Journal. He slept in abandoned junk cars. His body was found Wednesday morning as the temperature hit 5 degrees.

A Chicago man who remains unidentified after dying from hypothermia on Tuesday.

As parts of the country have experienced deep cold snaps this winter, homeless lives have been at risk, and last week’s deaths came after several died from the cold earlier in the month.


It doesn’t have to be this way. Some states, including Colorado and Oregon, and cities including Phoenix and Salt Lake City, are making great strides in getting their homeless populations off the streets and into homes.