Some seek shelter in warming shelters, others brave elements - WSMV News 4

Some in homeless community seek warming shelters, others brave dangerously cold night

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Metro has opened shelters for the homeless while temperatures drop into single-digits. (WSMV) Metro has opened shelters for the homeless while temperatures drop into single-digits. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

As dangerously cold temperatures continue in middle Tennessee, many in the homeless community are still braving the cold overnight.

"I've slept out here for the past couple nights," said Hope Hatfield Church, sitting on a bench near Church Street. "We fix a palette on the ground here, and we bundle up. You gotta do what you've gotta do to survive. It's rough. It truly is."

Looking for warmer, better days in her city, Church's goal is just to stay under the sunlight as long as she can. Temperatures Sunday night dipped down into the single digits, dangerously close to zero degrees.

Guarding the sleeping bags, jackets and tarps of her friends, Church knows what happened at the exact bench three years ago. The day after Christmas 2014, David Milliken was found unresponsive on that bench. He passed away after suffering severe pneumonia.

"You get to know these people, and it's like losing a family member," said Church.

Church said over the past few nights, the office of emergency management has been to the area, asking if anyone needs blankets while others have left supplies. Mayor Megan Barry has also been reaching out this week, announcing additional beds at the mission campuses and Room in the Inn. Barry added overflow crowds are going to the East Park Community Center Monday night.

Trying to stay protected from a bitter wind cutting through the city, Church wants to see even more options for the homeless community.

"Until you walk in somebody's shoes who's lived on the streets and they're homeless, you have no earthly idea what it's like," she said.

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