Fox8 video: Helping the homeless in the cold

From Fox8:

“On cold nights, outside is the last place you want to be. For some in Greensboro, they have no other option. Homeless people are bracing for the cold temperatures. Some people will be able to get a spot in the shelters, others will use whatever they can to try to stay warm.

StreetWatch is a volunteer group that does weekly check-ups on homeless individuals and homeless camps set up throughout the city.
“Typically we are the ministry that gives out tents and blankets to people that have no where to stay. Tonight all I have to give out is socks and hats,” explains Kirsten Cassell, with StreetWatch.

Greensboro’s shelters are packed. The Weaver House is able to hold up to 115 people. Alphonzo Lyons is grateful to be staying at the Weaver House.
“Never been homeless, never lived in the streets, always been able to provide for myself,” says Alphonzo Lyons, who’s been at the Weaver House for the past few months.

Some people like David Gaither have already done their allowed days at the shelters. He will spend the night under a trailer.

“I got no choice to be out here. I don’t have anywhere to go,” explains David Gaither, a homeless man in Greensboro.

Groups like Street Watch are doing what they can to bring warmth and make the cold nights a little less dangerous. Since last week’s snow storm the group has been running low on supplies.

If you want to donate or help out with Street Watch you can learn more from their website:…”


Holey boots and gratitude

I posted this on Facebook tonight…

I have a pair of fake Uggs that I love, but I’ve worn them out. They have big holes in the soles of both boots. The shearling lining is super-warm, though, so I wear them around the house. Today, I had to take two homeless friends to an appointment and I forgot to change shoes before I left. My feet promptly got wet in the rain. After the appointment, we went back to the tent city, where I had to step through mud and water puddles. My boots, socks and feet were thoroughly soaked and I was soon shivering and freezing, even though I was wearing a heavy coat. What a miserable feeling! I’m just now changing into dry socks and another pair of boots. I’m chilled all the way through. This is horrible. And it’s reality for some homeless people all the time, except that they have nothing clean and dry to change into and no heated house to warm up in. Reality check. Grateful.

Fox8 goes with me to FM tent city: (Video) “Homeless supplies dwindle as colder weather hits”

Fox8’s Carter Coyle went with me to the Freeman Mill tent city today to talk about the cold weather, the coming winter and how StreetWatch is preparing. She talked to several of my friends who live there and Sean spoke to her on camera. Video below:

From the accompanying article:

Homeless awareness advocates in Greensboro are bracing for a rough winter.

“There’s people living in the woods all over the entire city,” explained Michele Forrest with StreetWatch, a local volunteer organization that collects and distributes supplies for homeless people.

Forrest says just because you can’t always see the homeless population in Greensboro does not mean it isn’t there.

“We know of dozens and dozens of camps, plus there’s two tent cities. But those are just probably a fraction,” said Forest, a fraction of the more than 1,000 homeless people in Guilford County on any given night.

Right now, StreetWatch is dangerously low on supplies.

Forrest says their shelves are usually stocked with food, tents, toiletries and blankets. Right now many of her shelves are empty.

“Having it cold this early in the season does worry me. We’ve had some rule changes in the winter shelters and we just have more people overall. We are expecting to see more people outside this winter,” she added.

The goal of StreetWatch is not only to distribute supplies like tents, tarps and food to homeless people but also build relationships with them.

“Homeless people are just like people who have homes. They want friendship, they want to talk to someone… Sometimes we sit for hours and talk just because someone is having a rough day,” said Forrest.

Forrest and her StreetWatch volunteers also bring people to appointments, court dates and even hospital visits if necessary.

One of Forrest’s friends is Sean Sarver, who lives in one of Greensboro’s tent cities.

“Survival. It’s not living anymore, it’s survival at this point,” said Sarver when asked about the upcoming cold weather.

>> keep reading…

Want to help? You can drop off donations for StreetWatch in the collection box in the lobby of the Greensboro Police Department  at 2602 South Elm-Eugene Street. Get more information about StreetWatch, and a list of the items that we need, at this site >>