Homeless remain outdoors in the rain

“Digger,” a local homeless man, sits with his cat, Spot, across from 7/11. Photo credit: Emily Teague

Even in under the recent rainy weather, some homeless in Chico remain outdoors.

“I’ve stayed wet,” said Dove Story, a transient in Chico since 1987, in response to the heavy rainfall in the past several weeks.

Story said she doesn’t fit well in shelters. If she and her friends get ill under the weather , they use all the money they can get to get a motel room.

Transients often choose to be outside, said Rich Young, the Assistant Director at the Jesus Center, a homeless shelter in Chico.

The Jesus Center provides shelter for women and children, and meals and care for those who are homeless, Young said. The dining hall is open only at meal times, and during poor weather, for those seeking shelter.

Despite the harsh conditions, the Jesus Center has not seen an increase in numbers.

“A lot of people who are on the street would prefer to be outside,” Young said. “They are very resourceful when it comes to being out in the weather.”

Homeless activity decreases in the colder months and during severe conditions, he said.

The Torres Community Shelter also reported similar trends, said Brad Montgomery, the executive director.

The shelter houses 120 beds for transient people seeking shelter.

Often people who are homeless are not adjusted for shelters, Montgomery said. Many choose not to utilize the facilities because of mental illness, other guests or past experiences.

“They are some of the most resourceful people I’ve ever met,” Montgomery said.

Story said she sets paper and wood on fire to keep warm.

“I almost die in these conditions,” she said.

Nathan Lehmann can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.