“I just don’t like it,” admits John. “There is nothing I like about winter at all.”
Many of us can agree on that and it is easy to complain about standing in the cold for a mere five minutes even. Yet for the homeless, extreme temperatures can be a matter of life or death.
But for the homeless, extreme temperatures mean a struggle to survive.
John has been living outside since September.
“Underneath the stratmore bridge, which is basically out in the open. It’s brutal. There are people living underneath every bridge around here.”
John admits life outside so far has been tolerable, but sub-zero temperatures are a different story.
“It wasn’t too bad until it started getting seriously seriously cold. I had a piece of plastic to keep the wind off of me.”
He feels relieved after discovering a tent city two days ago. The four walls of wood, cardboard, and plastic provide shelter .
“There was nothing between me and the frozen ground but a piece of carpeting so this is like a hotel for me. I just get under the blankets and hold a jacket over me too. Then I just take it day by day basically.”
John has hopes of finding a steady job in the future but knows it won’t be easy for him.
“I’m 52. I’m a bum. There are so many other people out looking for work, it just boggles the mind that’s why there is so many of us around. ”
He spends his day indoors reading at the library or the Parish Cupboard to stay warm. However, at night with below freezing temperatures it can be a fight to stay alive.