Homeless population braces for the cold weather - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga's homeless population braces for the cold weather

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

As temperatures continue to stay below freezing, many homeless people are preparing for the crisp nights ahead.

Last year, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen served nearly 700 individuals in total. Robert Rucker was one of those people.

The Chattanooga Community Kitchen says nearly 700 people sleep outside or in shelters each night. 

Rucker has his own layering system to prepare for the cold nights ahead.

“While you're out there try to get as much thermal socks underwear you know stuff that's going to keep you warm blankets,” Rucker said.

Rucker has been homeless in Chattanooga for three years, and he says he's thankful for the assistance.

Organizations like the Chattanooga Community Kitchen and the Salvation Army provide people with some of the things they need to brave the winter weather.

“The hand warmers so if I get to keep you warm to keep in feet, but it takes for you to go get utensils likes sweat tops hoodies to keep yourself warm,” Rucker said.

Rucker said it's easier to carry items around if they are compact.

He said it takes more than adding additional clothes to keep warm when the temperatures drop below freezing.

“Basically the time when I was homeless, I was keeping hot teabags, cups of tea, them keep me warm and eating,” Rucker said.

While the community kitchen helps people get a job and housing, Rucker said, in the meantime, it's all about survival.

“These people do not have to do nothing for you, but by them doing it for you; thank them and the Lord doing stuff for your help you get on your feet,” Rucker said.

Of the estimated 700 people who sleep outside each night in Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen can hold up to 150 people. Once full, the Salvation Army will open its doors.

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