Homeless and Cold - Charleston, WV - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Homeless and braving the freezing temperatures together

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Ray is living in a tent along the river bank in Charleston. Ray is living in a tent along the river bank in Charleston.
CHARLESTON, West Virginia -

In the middle of these frigid temperatures, there are some people who don't have a warm bed to lie in at night.  One of those people is Ray.  He's living in a tent along the river bank in Charleston. 

He said it takes a special person to be able to survive the cold temperatures at night.  "First, you gotta be crazy.  Second, you don't give a damn.  Third, you gotta be one tough S.O.B," he said. 

"I'm homeless, you know that," Ray said, unapologetically.

He's from coal country.  He worked as a miner for 15 years.  He said he's had two open heart surgeries and two heart attacks.  But now he's staying here, along with five others, at a make shift camp along the icy Elk River. 

Ray said, "It's about being free.  You know, that's what it's about."

In exchange for being free and not abiding to the rules of a shelter, they are braving the elements.  Five men and one woman call each other family.  "We're like family," Ray said.  We watch out for each other, you know?"

I asked, "It's one thing to be out here and be free, but is it worth being out here when it's zero degrees?"  Ray said, "Well, I'll tell you.  It's not easy.  Its not easy."  "What's the hardest part," I asked.  He said, "The cold."

For now, it's about sticking together and bundling up through the winter months, and like Ray said, toughing it out.

If you are interested in finding a place to donate to help the homeless in our region, follow the link: http://www.sos.wv.gov/business-licensing/charities/Pages/default.aspx