Wayside volunteers work to get homeless out of tents - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Wayside volunteers work to get homeless out of tents

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Even with the bitterly cold temperatures, some people are still sleeping on the streets.

Most people don't know it, but off Campbell Street near River Road, behind trees and in the snow, there is a large homeless camp -- a tent city.

Bill Leavell and Bob Richman are volunteers with Wayside Christian Mission. Despite the cold weather, they're outside, bearing hot coffee, water and food to encourage the homeless. And they're trying to get them to leave their tents to come in to the warm shelter.

"I'm cold enough the way it is, let alone if I'm going to stay out here all night, stay out all week," Richman said. "So, I would like to be sure people are at least warm and comfortable through the evening."

This camp has a bunch of tarps, but the homeless are also staying in junk cars, trying to keep warm.

The homeless here all have stories of how they ended up in this situation. Chris and his girlfriend say they won't go in to the shelter because of their Chihuahua.

"We stay out here with her to make sure she stays warm," Chris said.

Others are men who lost their jobs after being injured and can no longer work. Curtis Huffines has been living here for three years and doesn't mind the conditions.

"I talked to one of my church friends yesterday," Huffines said. "He's bringing a couple of extra sleeping bags and a couple of extra tents because a couple of guys got theirs from the ice storm last week."

When asked why he doesn't go in to the shelter, Huffines says, "As far as I'm concerned with that, that's for the guys that have illnesses or age. I can handle this. Three sleeping bags, I don't even know it's cold."

The men here say the reason they're still alive in the cold weather is because of the help of charitable organizations and local churches who bring food, clothing and blankets and pray for them.

"If they want to come in at night -- particularly when the wind chill is under 35 like it is now -- they can, but generally speaking, they chose not to," Leavell said.

Wayside volunteers will be out again at 8 p.m. to try and get the homeless indoors.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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