Metro homeless bundle up to stay warm outside in frigid temperatures

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- On another bitterly cold night, a 57-year-old homeless Army veteran and KC metro native treks up 48 makeshift stairs and through some woods in KCK.

He calls himself “White Hawk,” and for the last nine years, he’s lived in a tent at a homeless camp.

“Yeah, I live here with my cats," he said. "I like living out here like this believe it or not."

Just how does he survive the frigid, life-threatening temperatures the Kansas City area is currently experiencing?

“I sit by my bed there and just keep on my thermals, coats and pants," an upbeat White Hawk said, "and then I take off my shoes and cover up."

He covers up on two mattresses where he sleeps in his home-made tent. It’s covered with lots of thick tarp and held together with several stern branches and ropes.

“I’ve got about 14 candles burning in my tent to keep warm," the 57-year-old said. "I’ve also got a few blankets. Other than that, it’s pretty nice."

“I’ve lived indoors before," said Pedro, who also lives at the homeless camp. "I mean, I just like living outdoors because it feels natural."

Currently, 10 men and one woman are living in tents at the homeless camp. Three nights a week, Salvation Army volunteers bring them food.

“Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays they come around and bring us hot chocolate, sandwiches and snacks. We all appreciate that,” said another man, who like so many at the camp, didn’t want to disclose his real name.

Just a few feet away, 36-year-old Marlon showed Fox 4's Robert Townsend where on the tough, winter nights he sleeps under a bridge in KCK.

“I have lots of blankets on this mattress, and yeah, this is where I sleep," Marlon said. "I also have on coats, hoodies, long-johns and gloves. Once I’m down under all those blankets, believe or not, I’m not really cold nor am I scared to stay here."

“Anything is really dangerous," White Hawk said. "It depends on how you take care of yourself out here."