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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)--Homeless on the coldest night of the season. That was the reality for hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in Kentuckiana.
That's why Wayside Christian Mission launched its Samaritan Patrol. But as you're about to read, it's still not easy getting people to come in out of the cold.
"Oh no, I ain't going no where, I'm just going to tough her out," says Tony Watson, who is homeless.
In fact, it will take more than frigid temperatures for Watson to come inside.
Watson says, "We'll keep warm, just cover up, we'll be all right."
For the last five years, Watson has lived in a homeless camp near downtown Louisville.
He explains, "I got some friends up there and we got a fire going right now."
Since Watson and his friends won't come inside, Wayside Christian Mission comes to them.
Earl Roth is Wayside's volunteer chaplain and part of the Samaritan Patrol. Roth says despite the frigid temperatures, many of the homeless choose to take their chances on the street.
"You just do the best you can," says Roth. And sometimes the best you can do is to just simply offer a warm blanket, food and other essentials. "You know, you see these guys and they're just -- they're just helpless," says Roth.
In 20-plus years of Samaritan Patrols, Roth has seen it all. He shares one of the many stories that just about broke his heart. "He had both feet frozen, had to have 'em cut off," Roth recalled. "And the next year he was back out there."
Meanwhile, at another homeless camp near Brook and First Streets, Roth finds a different environment but gets the same response. He says, "There's probably 15 of 'em up through there, there's a whole row of beds and tents and things up through there."
"It's easier to have a tent, so at least you know where you're going to sleep at night," says Walter Manford, another homeless man braving the bone-numbing cold.
Wayside's Samaritan Patrol will continue to make the rounds until the cold snap ends.