In the year 2019 When Covid-19 First hit I was working at a bar as a cook. I ended up losing my job because they shut down the restaurant. As a result, I had a hard time keeping up with my rent and ultimately ended up homeless In Mt. Clemens. I had been outside for two months before winter hit. And normally there are churches in the area that would house the homeless for a week at a time feeding them and providing clothing and bus tickets to look for work. But the year Covid hit the local churches shut down and close to 50 people were forced to sleep outside in the cold. I remember there was a group of us that were homeless that banded together and tried our best to gather blankets and sleeping bags in order to stay warm. I remember a church group came by the bridge we were sleeping under and offered us food and hand warmers I remember grabbing like 8 of them. I happened to have bought two emergency Mylar blankets from a dollar store two days before. And I’m thankful I did. The temperature dropped to -20 below outside later on that night. I had a sleeping bag that wasn’t rated for temperature anywhere near that. I crawled inside and my hands and feet were so cold I could barely move….everyone else around me was complaining about the bitter cold. No one in our group had a working phone so we had no idea how cold it was until the next day when someone in our group would go to a local diner and check the weather in the morning… I remember wrapping myself with the two Mylar blankets I had and I got the bright idea to take the 8 hand warmers I had and placed two in my boots to keep the heat in my boots and placed two under my armpits and crossed my arms under all night and one in my winter hat to keep my head heat in. I remember from my Marine Corps training that 90 percent of body heat is lost through your head. And I also was sleeping on concrete which also sucks your body heat out. So I grabbed a piece of cardboard to elevate my body off the ground and those few things kept me warm throughout the night. The next morning several people had to go to the hospital for frostbite injuries. I’m grateful to God that I was not one of those who got frostbite that night. But that experience opened my eyes to the harsh reality of how brutal Michigan winters sleeping outside can be and how my heart goes out to those who have to brazen the winter cold months and How I’m grateful I am with winter months now approaching to be at Grace Centers of Hope and that I have a warm bed a place to take a shower, camaraderie, and have a meal each day.
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