PORTLAND, Ore. -- Local homeless advocates will be watching the forecast this holiday weekend and are ready to activate ' severe weather shelters' if needed.

That could come as early as Saturday night, depending on weather conditions.

Officials have only opened those temporary shelters once this winter. They say that their system is significantly more organized than a year ago.

Last winter, at least four homeless people died of exposure, according to public reports. This winter, officials are urging anyone in need of housing, or who knows someone in need, to dial 211 for information on shelter beds, warming centers, and availability.

“And if a person is non responsive and someone is really worried about their welfare, they should call the police non-emergency number [503-823-3333] and ask for a welfare check on that individual,” said George Devendorf, executive director of Transition Projects, a local outreach and services provider.

"We also know that getting clothing into their hands is extremely important as well, and that's why donations are so critical, especially now while we have time to receive stuff, sort it, and get it out to the sites where we can distribute it," said Devendorf.

Transition Projects is one of the places accepting cold-winter donations. They are most in need of thick socks, waterproof gloves and coats, hats, sleeping bags, and warm blankets.

Items can be brought to Transitions Projects Northwest Portland offices at 665 NW Hoyt Street anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.