Nashville's homeless community prepares for bitter cold - WSMV News 4

Nashville's homeless community prepares for bitter cold

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Advocates try to convince homeless people to go to shelters during cold weather. (WSMV) Advocates try to convince homeless people to go to shelters during cold weather. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Warming shelters opened up again Wednesday night for people who need to get in off the streets for a cozy place to sleep.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry tweeted out that in addition to the shelters, there’s an overflow center at Hadley Park Community Center.

During the day, many in the homeless community must get creative while they wait for warming shelters to open. News 4 spoke to people layering up against the cold.

Nick O’Hanna grilled up street dogs for customers, keeping the coals burning near Music City Central.

“I usually come out here and set up, as quickly as I can, get my dogs grilled up. And as for today, I’m pretty much hugging the fire,” O’Hanna said.

He works 12 hours or more a day, and it’s a job he enjoys after being homeless in the past.

“I try to stay as warm as I can out here. My mom always told me in the cold weather just try to keep on moving and you’ll stay warm. That’s why you kind of see me bouncing around a little bit,” O’Hanna said.

News 4 found a few people huddled up under tarps or tents downtown and learned where many of the city’s homeless went.

“Most everybody’s there in the library. Or they found some place warm, like a coffee shop. They’re down at the bus stops either hiding inside the waiting areas or (paying) $3.25 for an all-day pass. They’re just riding the buses, staying warm,” said Willard Wheaton, who is homeless.

Once the bus service stops and businesses close, they figure out where to stay the night. Outreach workers try to convince the homeless to go to shelters in town.

One homeless man was found dead Wednesday morning on Hayes Street after a cold night.

“It’s going down into the teens tonight, and the problem is that cumulative nights when it’s cold make it so much worse on people,” said Samuel Lester of Open Table Nashville.

Open Table Nashville performs checks on homeless camps during the winters, handing out sleeping bags, socks and hand warmers. Outreach workers said it’s important to check on the homeless people you see to make sure they are OK or if they need help.

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