Advocates Try To Convince Homeless To Seek Shelter From Cold


Advocates spent Tuesday night trying to convince the homeless to come inside from the sub-zero windchill.

"We come out here because it's frostbite temperatures,"  said Niki Warner from Maryhaven Outreach.

Warner and her partner, Tom Adams are checking tents and offering help in homeless camps.  Many are refusing, though.  The refusals sting a little more this day.  With wind chills below zero, this duo wants to get everyone off the streets. 

Maryhaven is normally a public intoxication shelter, but its doors are wide open right now.

"You would be able to walk in to Maryhaven at any time and get a bed because it's so cold,"  said Warner.

But many still refuse.  Across old Whittier Bridge, the crew found one holdout.

"I'm just being out here, being a hard head.  I got all the comfort right here and everything,"  said Daryl Jennings, a homeless man.

With burgers on the fire, a full tank of gas and his cats to curl up with, Jennings would rather hunker down in his shanty.

"It's cold out there, I ain't feel this much cold in a while but I'm just gonna wait it out though,"  said Jennings.

Heading to a shelter would wreck his routine.

"Four o'clock in the morning, fix my breakfast, fix my lunch, jump on my bike and ride to the YMCA and catch the school bus up to New Albany,"  Jennings said.

Others in his camp, though, have vacated.  Warner and Adams have been shelling out bus passes and warm clothing. 

There's also more proof of people heading inside. The phone calls at the 2-1-1 call center have been way above normal for shelter help.

"I'm sure it's got a lot to do with the freezing weather,"  said manager Shafira Robinson.  

They keep track of available beds in the city for the homeless who call.  This frigid night, there's not a lot left.

"We've got two at Faith on 8th and then we have two at the overflow at the Faith Mission on 6th,"  said Robinson.

Even when everything is full, they try to find places that will squeeze clients in.