More than cold weather poses a threat to the homeless - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

More than cold weather poses a threat to the homeless

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -  The winter season is one of the most dangerous times for those among Chattanooga's homeless population. 

“They're also walking in hidden areas. Camping in the woods and behind buildings and in places where they're looking for shelter,” Jens Christensen said. 

But it isn't just the cold elements that always pose a threat. 

Christensen is the executive director of Chattanooga's Community Kitchen and says a man was hurt Wednesday morning just trying to stay warm. 

“We received word that he was burned pretty severely in a tent fire,” he said. 

A few hours later, a utility worker found the remains of a man in an overgrown area off Westside Drive. 

Chattanooga Police are still working to identify the body but believe the white male was homeless. 

But instances shed light on the need for better care for a group of people who are all too often forgotten. 

“We have several hundred people coming through the door seeking meals and services that will help them not be homeless tomorrow and those same people need help finding a place to sleep at night and we don't have adequate shelter here in the city,” Christensen added. 

With temperatures expected to hover around freezing, the Community Kitchen will open their doors on Thursday and Friday nights for those who have nowhere to go. 

“We're already prepared to begin opening as an overnight cold weather shelter where we will have around 120 people sleeping on the floor behind me,” he said. 

It's something Christensen says he's happy to do but is a month ahead of schedule and puts more stress on an already tight budget.

Community Kitchen will open their doors at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.  
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