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VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is drawing attention to homeless people suffering from both freezing cold and indifference during Europe's frigid weather.
In Italy alone, eight deaths were blamed on the cold, including a man who died in the basement of an unused building in Milan, and another on a street flanking Florence's Arno River. Francis prayed for those who "unfortunately didn't" survive the cold. He also asked God to "warm our hearts so we'll help" the homeless.
The Vatican has distributed to some homeless thermal sleeping bags that protect down to minus 20C (minus 4F). Some Vatican vehicles, their doors unlocked, were left at night outside the Vatican City's high walls, so homeless people could take turns going inside the cars to warm up. Several homeless sleep outside, under Vatican porticoes.