Jethro Trujillo sat on a box top beneath a San Pedro bridge and leaned against a chain-link fence awaiting the 4:15 p.m. bus Monday to the Long Beach Rescue Mission's cold-weather shelter.
There, he would get a hot meal and a cot in a warm room for the night, avoiding the near-freezing overnight temperatures outside.
The record-breaking cold spell gripping the Los Angeles area left icy patches on local roads Monday morning, but warmer mornings are expected soon.
Amid sunny skies and strong winds, temperatures were forecast to remain low Tuesday, as they have been all winter, according to the National Weather Service.
A high-pressure system that is building will bring temperatures back to normal - about 10 degrees warmer - by the end of the week, weather service spokeswoman Bonnie Bartling said. "You're going to have sunny skies the whole time, then back-to-normal temperatures by Thursday and Friday."
Trujillo, a 68-year-old former mechanic, said he has been living on the streets since he lost everything in a divorce seven years ago and had worn out his welcome at the homes of family and friends. He said he goes to the winter shelter most nights because, in his words, "It's just survival, nobody likes it."
"This is no life, it's very bad," Trujillo said. At the shelter "you get dinner, breakfast - it's OK.
The cold-weather shelter opened on Dec. 1 and will close on March 15. About 140 cots are available at the Long Beach location, and they are filled most nights, said Francisco Maniego, a shelter assistant.
"It's kinda hard to sleep on a sidewalk on a cold night," Maniego said.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority operates 20 cold-weather shelter sites across the county, with a total of 1,491 beds. The Long Beach site is the nearest refuge for residents of the South Bay and Harbor Area.
On Monday, a homeless man in his 50s was found dead on a sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles - on a morning when the 34-degree reading broke the previous record low of 36 degrees for Jan. 14 set in downtown L.A. in 2007. Authorities said the man may have been sleeping under blankets or a sleeping bag, and he appeared to die from natural causes.
Monday's high was 61 degrees at Los Angeles International Airport, where the low temperature was expected to dip to 42 degrees. Meteorologists expect that to increase steadily until Friday reaching a high of 71 degrees and a low of 50 at night. Temperatures will remain like that for several days, according to the weather service.
Damaging winds were forecast through Tuesday, with 60-mph gusts in the mountains, and gusts of 30 to 50 mph along the coast from the Hollywood Hills to Malibu.
Shari Weaver, who refers people to the Long Beach cold-weather shelter from Harbor Interfaith Services, said even people who usually avoid shelters are seeking refuge because it is so cold outside.
"What we're seeing right now is that some people who (wouldn't normally stay in a shelter) are coming in," Weaver said.
About a dozen people waited for the bus from San Pedro to the Long Beach shelter on Monday afternoon. Some carried light backpacks, and others had piles of luggage.
Joe Parra said he found out about the cold-weather shelter by calling the Los Angeles resource hotline at 211. He, too, said he had worn out his welcome at friends' homes.
"You can't be hitting people up every day," Parra said. "And you can't go back for a week or you become a pest."
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