Published: Jan 06, 2014 4:25 PM EST
Updated: Jan 06, 2014 5:25 PM EST

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - While it's nothing like the snowy conditions people are seeing up north, officials in Southwest Florida say we still need to take this cold snap seriously.

That's why several places are opening up cold weather shelters Monday evening.

Volunteers unload and stack 30 cots preparing to turn the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition dining hall into a shelter.  It offers those who need it, something many of us don't think of as a luxury: a warm bed to sleep in.

"I've been homeless probably four times in the last five years," says Jarrett Bray.

For 23-year-old Jarrett Bray, he's thankful to now have a bed, especially knowing first hand what it's like to try and sleep out in the wood in colder elements.

"I barely had any clothes whatsoever.  I had two pairs of jeans and maybe four shirts," he says.

Emergency Management officials warn everyone that while it doesn't compare to what folks are dealing with in other parts of the country,

"This is a dangerous cold," says Wayne Sallade.

Charlotte and Sarasota County leaders are working together to make sure those who need it have a roof over their heads a bed to sleep in Monday night and Tuesday night.

There are several shelters opening up around town at places like the Homeless Coation and the Salvation Army off Kings Highway.

"If you're exposed to wind chills in the low 20s for a period of time and you don't have adequate protection, you can suffer hypothermia, I mean people can die in these conditions," says Sallade adds.