“First, you have to find a lot of blankets; at least 5 or 6 but, 10 or 12 would be better. Try to keep them dry. Put on all your clothes, one layer on top of another. Find a place were the wind isn’t blowing too much, like a spot against a wall. Look for a hospital with warm air vents. And if it’s raining or snowing put some cardboard under you and get some shelter over you, like an awning or overhanging. Find some more people trying to survive because you’ll stay warmer together. Take off your wet socks and anything else that’s wet or else you’ll freeze or get frost bite. Wrap up in all your blankets and put some over your head. You don’t worry about breathing because you’re so cold. The trick is to keep the air out.
If you can get a bus pass, your best bet is to ride the train. Try to find someone else to ride with you so one of you can sleep and one of you can watch your stuff. Keep your stuff on the inside seat and sit next to it. Get off the train before the end of the line so they don’t know you’re homeless or they’ll kick you off the next time you get on. Try to go unnoticed and switch trains so you can ride all night. It sounds crazy, I know, but you can do it. Even when it’s below zero outside. You can make it.”
These are the words of our good friend, Archie. He spoke candidly with us about how to survive on the streets in the winter. I’m happy to report that Archie is permanently housed. Also, the CCO dining room is an emergency location for people on the streets in cold weather. Help us continue to bring Chicago’s most vulnerable citizens in from outside. We can’t do it without you. Thanks!