Dec 1, 2010 3:28 PM by MIKE MAGNOLI

St. Joes Shelter Opens For The Cold

Shelters across Acadiana are open tonight for those with no place to stay in the cold.  There are  house rules: no booze, no drugs but there are also warm beds for Lafayette's homeless.  In this story we profiled two of the guys spending the night.    

"It's enlightening, you get to see what they go through."

Bill Harkness is talking about the night he spent on the streets.  Once an air force servicemen with a career for a good company- and a wife, Bill got into some trouble with the law and after coming out of the slammer found himself in a bus-station, just his wheelchair and the clothes on his back.

"I was cold and hungry, they let me stay because there was no place to go, I survived it."

Tony David has survived a night in the elements too: On Monday, just this week, he was on a friend's front porch.  storms brewing over head. 

"About 4 am the rain and the wind picked up," Tony tell us.

Tony is waiting for a job in the oil industry, even though the moratorium has been lifted, he still hasn't found work.  He did a stint in the Army Reserves as a medic, like so many of the other guys at St. Joseph's shelter, he wore this country's uniform.  

"I made a lot of mistakes, I'm not going to lie, I got myself here, but all I can do is keep trying."

The temp was 40, the headcount was 21-- in the morning the men got a hot breakfast at St. Joe's diner.


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