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Homeless in the cold

What do you do when you have no where to go in these frigid temperatures? At last check, there were more than 600 homeless people in the tri-county area. And while all of them want to find somewhere warm to go when it gets cold, it's not always possible. "You could die in weather like this if you don't have the right stuff to cover up with," says Ross, a 23 year old homeless man. He is spending his first night in the Good Shepherd Center. On nights like this, when the temperature drops below freezing, he'll do whatever he can to stay warm. "An abandoned building, on the street, under a bridge, outside. It's scary, it's no fun. No fun at all," he says. Billy has been homeless off and on since 1996, and knows all too well what it's like to struggle through a cold winter night. "If you couldn't get in here, you have camps and stuff all over town," says Billy. "I'd kick a door in. I'm not going to stand out there and freeze to death." "It's absolutely frustrating and a little disheartening, says Katrina Knight, Executive Director of the Good Shepherd Center. The center is one of a handful of shelters where people can stay overnight in Wilmington. when the center created a night shelter with 118 beds to accommodate more homeless people, she didn't expect it to be filled nearly every night of the year. And when it's especially cold, some homeless people who might otherwise seek shelter in the woods or their cars place an even greater burden on the center. Still, they do anything they can to accommodate more people when the temperature plummets. "We routinely add a cot here or a mat there in order to not have to turn individuals away," says Knight. She says they've never had to turn away a family with small children. She points to the lack of affordable housing in the greater cape fear area as the main reason why so many are homeless. She says many of the people who live at Good Shepherd have jobs, but still can't afford to rent or buy a home in this area.

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Regardless of the situation, the temps are to cold for pets and way to cold for humans. We were just in Washington DC over the Christmas holiday and saw a homeless person and it truly broke my heart. Do good for them and you will be rewarded for your kindness even if their motives are wrong. Remember the braclect WWJD (What would Jesus DO) we as Americans need to act on that more often. We are truly a Blessed Nation!!! Share the Love!!

Wow!! A lot of you have WAY

Wow!! A lot of you have WAY to much time on your hands writing this long blogs. Hope your not doing it on company time. I lived the past 5 years in Las Vegas and moved to Wilmington in June. I was born and raised in Asheville. Take it from me, someone who has a four year degree and has lived in the "most exciting city in the US", money isn't everything. My husband hated living there and longed everyday to return. I have found more happiness living in this city and us both making far less money. It's all about what you want in life. Money and things? Or true happiness. I wouldn't trade my downscaled life for anything. As far as the homeless? They are people too, who for whatever reason have found themselves in a hard situation. ALWAYS have compassion. It could be any one of us.

No, that's just it - it couldn't be "any one of us"

We all manage our lives. Why can't they? How does a person reach adulthood without recognizing that you have to take certain steps to lead a NORMAL life? You have to have a job. You have to bathe. You can't dedicate ninety percent of your income to cigarettes and booze. You can't have kids that you can't afford. When the voices in your head tell you that sleeping under an overpass in a puddle of your own urine is a great idea, you have to get help. We all recognize these facts. They are intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. Why do these simple facts escape these people? Look, I think it's great that these shelters exist, and what they do with their money is their business. I just can't abide by them lying, and blaming homelessness on a lack of affordable housing. Most of their clientel are a bunch of alcoholic bums or druggies. Fact.


Sad to say, but many replyers are truly missing the point here. This is not the time to play the blame game and point fingers. Have you ever volunteered at one of these homeless shelters? If so, have you ever sat down with them and heard their stories? Probably not, and you probably don't care right. (And Yes I have, but not enough). Well, I applaud the great efforts of such agencies out there who are willing to help others in their time of need. Yes, it is important to learn HOW they got to the point of homelessness, but at the same time they need our help NOW! For those who don't want to lend a hand, then don't. I know some of you are familiar with the movie where Will Smith played a homeless guy. He was not homeless b/c of all the reasons some of you are pointing out. Guess what? There are more like him that are homeless today. One more thing. I ignore comments made by people telling me (SOMEONE BORN AND RAISED IN WILMINGTON) to just move away. The majority of people living in MY hometown are NOT from there. My husband & I made the difficult decision last year to move away. Away from our family, friends, Church family, co-workers. Wilmington will ALWAYS be my hometown. To all those in the struggle to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, "Don't give up"!! God Bless!

They don't need my help

I'm more than willing to help those who, through no fault of their own, need help. I am not wasting my time on people who threw their lives away and continue to do so, every day. do what you do what you have to do. If you can't make it what you want here in Wilmington, then you pack up and leave. Those that aren't willing to leave for a better job don't need to complain about things. If you aren't willing to do what is needed, then you have no business complaining


If you guys have these degrees that you say you do and are only making around 20k a year, you need to move. My wife made over 20k a year just answering phones for a construction company. If any of you have worked at these jobs for any length of time you can easily go somewhere else and get a lot better paying know have experience and training and it would be easy to fine a job elsewhere. LEAVE WILMINGTON!!!!!!! Wilmington is nice and all, but it's not that great to where you are only going to make 20k a year in a position where most would be at least 30k a year

I refuse to give money to

I refuse to give money to the homeless. I've bought some a cheeseburger or the like, but I will not give them money. They say they need money for food and whatnots, but then turn around and buy alcohol. I tried to give a homeless guy at the Junction a cheeseburger and he refused it. Said he wanted money. I told him not a chance in hell.

I would love to help

I would gladly buy a bus ticket to somewhere warm for a homeless person, Florida sounds good, or maybe Mexico... maybe we can make a trade for someone in Mexico that is willing to work for someone here that doesn't want to work.

Don't give money to homeless

I too will not give money to homeless beggars. What do you mean they are "jobless"? Standing on the street corner begging for you to hand over your hard earned money to them IS their job! They even keep regular hours and have all the "props" with them make a good show and sucker the naive in. I can't believe business allow them to use their property. Remember, last year a reporter went to the Monkey Junction area, posed as a homeless man and made an average of $60.00 per hour! How many of you make that kind of money??

Hard life in Wilmington......

I relocated to Wilmington in '94 from the RDU area. I had spent 12 years working reliably at various high-tech institutions in the RTP making good money and living pretty well. I gave it all up to come to the beach, a place I had wanted to live since I was a child. It has been a struggle until just recently when I finally landed secure employment with a great area company. 13 years was very "iffy". Most employers will not pay decent wages as there is an endless supply of "educated" people that want to live at the beach that will subdue themselves to 7-10 clams/hr. I endured this and paid my dues, but it wasn't easy. It is a struggle to live in this town, work and prosper. I couldn't even imagine being in shape of a homeless person here and I have a lot of pity for them. As for the rest of us...well, somebody has to pay for the view, right? I love this town so much, I'd likely do it all over again!!!

No jobs in Wilmington?

For all of you claiming that you work for slave wages, and there are no high paying jobs in Wilmington. Please grow up. Even if we accept your contention that there are few high paying jobs available locally, that means that **YOU** have made a conscious choice to remain in an area where YOU believe that you can't make decent money. You are voluntarily living in poverty! For example, when you graduate from a university, there is no law that says you have to remain there! If the shoe fits, for God's sake cut the apron strings and get away from mommy! Here are a few "life observations" from an old, cantankerous codger: * The faster you get out on your own, the faster you will HAVE to learn how to succeed on your own. I was seventeen when I left home, and I never looked back or had any regrets. * It is far better to be rolling in the dough in Hugoton, Kansas, than to be broke in Wilmington, North Carolina. Being broke stinks, regardless of your level of perceived paradise. Of course, if you value surfing on piddley weenie-waves more than having a strong, independent financial future that will enable you to live where you want to and do what you want to.....well....good luck to you. * If you are going to put up with four years of college and wind up tens of thousands in debt, pick a field of discipline that is in demand so that you have some hope of recovering your investment! (Best story in the past year? The young lady who dumped her communications major and took up nursing. She won't be slinging hash at some local restaurant.) Too many college students fall into one of the two traps: They dedicate college to partying, and get an easy, dime-a-dozen degree such as psychology, sociology, or communications, or major in a really cool, exciting degree with a worldwide demand of a few dozen people a year. Meanwhile, we're paying $50k for entry level engineers, and all your business major buddies are driving BMWs and living on the beach three years out of college. Don’t underestimate the value of getting a VALUABLE degree. * As you go through life, don't miss the subtle indicators in people's stories. Several of you mention crappy salaries, but please note that NONE of you are homeless. Why is that? Because you have somehow worked out your situation. You are getting by, even if you're not eating caviar....and that's what separates you from the homeless. They can't manage things, they can't work things out. In a lot of cases, they don’t WANT to work things out. Poverty doesn't cause homelessness. There are millions of poor people in this country who aren't homeless, and will never BE homeless. Homelessness is caused by an underlying inability to manage your own life, whether due to substance abuse, mental illness, or just being a hapless, helpless loser.

YOU need to get educated

YOU need to get educated sir. Psychology is one of the tougher 4 year degrees to get. It is true that most people with that degree won't make a lot of money unless they get their masters; however, a BA in psychology is no easy task. It also seems you have way too much time on your hands and you waste it by writing a ridiculously long response saying essentially nothing.

Ridiculously long...

...but you apparently read every word of it. Better get back to work - the timer on the deep fryer is beeping.

Well I guess we all can't do what you say....

Well I am one of those "Communication" majors. Yes I went to college to work in television but I also went there to gain valuable experience in real life. Part of being in college is experiencing it. Did you know most of the people you watch on this channel make 20-30k? Do you realize how you live in Wilmington making 20-30k???!!?! I had to get out of Wilmington. UNC-Worthless was the worst decision I ever made for a college. Cape Fear Community College and my Associate of Arts is equal to my education at UNC-Worthless. Also the ones who do get degrees from UNCW, almost always end up trying to stay and work. It doesn't work. There is NO future there. I packed up moved to the #2 job market in the US and am still struggling. Am I struggling as bad as I did while in Wilmington no? Always a great place to visit my family, come back to hang out with friends, or enjoy the beach but not a place anymore to decently raise kids and go through things people should be able to throughout life. I would recommend everyone coming to Wake or Mecklenburg County. No offense to my hometown but those need to realize New Hanover county is not for our generation. NC STATE is the place for an education by the way(had to throw that out there ;) ) Also please feel for the homeless. Do you realize how bad it feels out right now? It would stink to sleep outside.

I lived and worked in

I lived and worked in Wilmington for 10 years. I was a poor but happy 28 year-old secretary making $7.25 an hour. When the company went bankrupt I nearly lost my house and car. I applied for a job in Raleigh listed in the employment section in the Wilmington Star News. In my interview, I was told that it was obvious that I had been working below my potential for years (I never could seem to get ahead in Wilmington). I was hired on the spot for $9.50 an hour (answering phones). Within 6 months I was a project manager making more money than I had ever made in my life. Dream big, and follow those dreams to the Triangle Region. Wilmington employers (and employers in surrounding counties) pay peanuts and work you to death.


Wow is all I can say! That's an amazing demonstation of how to destory the English language in one paragraph. What in the hell are you trying to say? I even managed to forget what everyone else was debating while trying to interpret your comment. Could you do a translation for me (and probably everyone else reading this story) using puctuation and lower case letters? Thanks in advance! I'm looking forward to it!

Hey Abundant Sarcasm , maybe

Hey Abundant Sarcasm , maybe you could learn to spell. You are too funny. We are all looking forward to that.



Don't judge a book by its cover...

In my opinion, the outward actions of others, may it be drinking,drugs etc is not the's actually the manifestation or outcome of an entirely different problem that may be plaguing that individual. Drinking is not the problem... maybe finding yourself jobless or homeless may LEAD to a person drinking... or the lost of a loved one may LEAD to a person trying to ease the pain by turning to drugs.. you get my point!... As far as addressing the issue of homeless.. take a look around... there aren't that many high paying jobs around and the cost of living keeps rising... a report over a year ago stated that the cost of housing in Wilmington was about 30% overpriced... without the availability of affordable housing, decent wages & employment opportunties, the numbers will continue to increase people finding themselves homeless. The homeless can one day be you or me... Only 1 pay check away from being put out on the streets for many... Job losses have also contributed to homelessness.. there are many homeless that are unaccounted for b/c they were fortunate to be living with friends/relatives, but they still count in my opinion, it's just that you don't see them on the street. What would help ease this problem would be employment & pay increase, affordable housing.. among others not mentioned... I was born and raised in this city, recently relocated to Raleigh last year where my 4 yr degree is now paying off for my family... I was barely making ends meet in Wilmington.. and that's with a 4 yr much harder for someone without an education?????? Please, don't categorized every homeless person as being a bum, drunk, drug addict, etc..there people just like u and me, only their struggles are different... God bless!

That's absolute nonsense!

If you're "one paycheck away from being homeless," then your life is a financial disaster and that is entirely YOUR responsibility. But in fact, you're likely not in that situation, because few people are. "One check away from homeless" is great rhetoric of the left, with little basis in fact....except for those foolish people who continue to enjoy a champagne life on a beer budget. If you have four kids and a minimum wage job, don't blame anyone but yourself for your situation. You may not LIKE the figures about the homeless, but that doesn't make then any less valid or true - seventy percent of homeless people have substance abuse and/or mental illness problems. That's WHY they are homeless - the homelessness didn't come first. Do the basic research. (And regardless of life's hard knocks, there is never, NEVER a reason to become a drunk or a druggie!) Many of them even enjoy the lifestyle! No mortgage, no bills, no taxes, no worries. I have a distant acquaintance who lives with his family in Pine Valley, but every now and then, misses the old life so much that he leaves, checks into the shelter, and pals around with his compadres for a few days or weeks. Then, he calls them to come pick him up, all beat up and smelling of that wonderful booze/vomit/urine/old cigarette smell. These people are predominantly BUMS, plain and simple. You can weep for their plight - I have no time for such nonsense. If I can manage my life, they can manage theirs.


If I was homeless and it was 20 degrees out side I would have several alcoholic drinks. And saving up the money they get from panhandling is not going to pay the rent. These people can not just go and get a job. If you are willing to hire someone that walks into your establishment with dirty, smelly, nasty clothes and in most cases (not all)a mental problem then I suggest you put the word out. I am sure alot of them would be more than thankful for you to give them a shot. And if you pay well let me know! Because I also have a degree and am a chemist and make less than 30k a year. Maybe myself and the other college graduate on this page could be assistant managers. Happy New Year!!!

To Drinks...

Well said- Thank you!


I guess the previous writer has never gone hungry or lived paycheck to paycheck. When the average pay is less than $30k annually & the average price of a home is above $150k/Rent average is $600/up for a 1br/1bth in New Hanover County. I, as a widowed, childless female w/ 4yr college education, work very hard for my less than $20k annually at a lawyer's office. I have no debt, no credit cards, my 10 year old car needs major repairs, no substance abuse, I shop at thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, I save as much as I can. I don't travel outside of work or necessity because of fuel prices, I budget my money weekly, monthly. I feel I'm very responsible. I rent a 1br/1bth from my mother who has set my rent at my income & I conserve & recycle as much as possible. I thank God everyday for my mother because if something happened then I could be homeless and it could mean missing a few paychecks. Our state has made huge cutbacks in human services to assist the less fortunate but will give tax cuts & incentives to major corporations, I believe we have our priorities backwards.


Cindy, I wish you the best. I understand your trouble. I worked for 8.50 an hour full time trying to support my son and I w/ a mortgage and car payment. I did not have time to search for another job but the difference is I had no college education to get a better job. I hope that you can use your degree to get out of your almost minimum wage job. The lawyer you work for should be ashamed to pay such low wages when they pull down, what $150.00+ an hour? Thanks to your great Mother for helping you, you are lucky as i was to have great parents.


I hope that is part time income, otherwise you need to work at a different lawyer's office. Good lawyers clear 20K in about a week.

good lawyers and fair wages

Good lawyers clear 20k a week? Times 50 is 10 million a year. Exactly how many "good" lawyers are there in Wilmington? And who said she was a lawyer? Secretaries make 20k a year. Reporters for TV stations make 20k a year. Guys that pull "good" lawyers out of their burning homes and save their lives make less than 30k a year. Thomas Wright makes $13,951 a year. I guess nothing is fair.

Yes but lets be fair, there

Yes but lets be fair, there aren't many reporters in this market worth more than 20k a year. And thats the nature of the beast, TV is what it is and has always been. You expect to make peanuts in market 140, and if you don't then the real world probably kicked you in the can awfully quick.

If you are a college graduate making less than $20k.....

...something is terribly, terribly wrong. Is there some reason you are willing to remain in a job that pays barely above minimum wage? Why did you bother to go to college if you're going to settle for some slave-wage job? BTW, while life may not be cushy, even at your income level, you could afford an apartment.....especially if you looked for a roommate. You might also ditch the car and consider using public transportation, if possible. There's more to your story.....

there is no money

The real world in Wilmington is that there is no pay for any decent job. This woman works in a law firm, I work in a shipping company and also have a degree. I am an administrative assistant I am 24 years old and I make $22,000 a year and just this year got insurance for the first time. I work part time cleaning houses and offices to pick up an extra $150 a week (tax free). I barely make it and could never do that and support a child. I have friends living elsewhere that make more money and have many more options should they want to leave their job. I like living here, my family lives here and I hate thinking I have to leave to find a better paying job. I understand they pay the guys who ride lawnmowers at Airlie more than they pay cops. It's just the way Wilmington is.