Homeless find ways to survive freezing temps - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Homeless find ways to survive freezing temps

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By Jim Shannon - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The sub-freezing temperatures and freezing rain will affect many around the Baton Rouge area, especially the homeless. Many of them suffer from inadequate shelter, meaning they could potentially find themselves in a life-threatening situation.

There is a side of Baton Rouge many people probably don't think about. It's a tent city just off Spanish Town Road, less than a mile from the Louisiana State Capitol. A lone dog barking was the only sign of life on a still, cold and drizzly Thursday morning.

The people of the "community" don't live there during the day. They are looking for food or anything that helps them to survive another day in the wooded sanctuary they call home. A news crew provided the first bits of information to a homeless man under the interstate named Eric that bad weather was expected to pass through the area Thursday night. He doesn't own a television set. He described the way he keeps warm when it gets cold.

"Well, some old man showed me the homemade Sterno and it worked out pretty good, so I just used that," he explained.

His homemade Sterno is a combination of paper and rubbing alcohol. It burns slowly. Eric needs it to burn slow because he will have to survive a long, cold night.

"I've got several people around here that know I'm here and when it freezes at night, they pull up and check on me and make sure I didn't freeze to death last night," he said.

Eric claimed the shelters and he don't get along. He said life is not easy. He admitted to panhandling, an illegal activity. He said he asks for food, socks, blankets, coffee and spare change. Plus, he's got a sense of humor that he said usually gets him a couple of extra bucks. However, make no mistake, his living is hard living.

"It's just survival, I guess, just make do with what you have to," he stated.

Eric added he is a survivor.

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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