MEMPHIS, Tenn. - On a cold, icy night in Memphis, there are veterans who aren’t sure of where they’ll be sleeping when the sun sets.
Shelters like Alpha Omega Veteran’s Services are working around the clock to keep as many veterans off the streets.
According to the Community Alliance for the Homeless, there are about 1,400 homeless people in Shelby County. Veterans like Charles Flowers live at Alpha Omega, as he sits in a warm location, he is reminded of cold nights in Chicago.
“When I was homeless, we had to go out at 6:30 a.m. and into the cold and all that,” Flowers said.
Flowers is a cancer survivor who has dealt with a laundry list of medical issues like heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes. His health, coupled with time spent in jail for possession of a controlled substance culminated into a life on the streets.
“I’m an honorable discharge, and I made a mistake,” he said.
Flowers knows he’s lucky.
For the foreseeable future, he sleeps on one of 19 occupied beds at the shelter.
Alpha Omega opened its doors in 1985, only able to house eight vets a night. Now, they can serve 120 to 140 veterans a day between six facilities.
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