Some homeless travel to Austin for a mild winter
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Some homeless people from northern cities are embracing Austin's temperate climate.
Homeless advocates say every year dozens of people come to spend the winter months here because the Capital City rarely sees snow and has good homeless services.
"It gets cold down here, but it's a different type of cold," homeless Austinite Jade Stone said. "Well, it doesn't get below zero."
‘Zero’ can be a dangerous number when you are sleeping on the streets.
Stone advises his friends up north in Nashville, St. Paul and Detroit to give Austin a try.
"If you're going to be homeless, three to six months or through the winter, you need to come down here, I said, because you will die up there," he said.
Front Steps Jennifer Denton said it's hard for the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless to keep track of the population, but she knows of at least two dozen people who come from other places to spend winter here every year.
"Austin is known for being a very homeless friendly city," Denton said. "Some folks just exhaust whatever amount of financial resources they have to get somewhere where they believe there are more and wider spread resources available."
Advocates say people would most likely travel by bus--a journey that could cost a couple hundred bucks. A Greyhound bus ticket from Chicago is $150, one from Detroit is $207."
Come Spring, some may decide to stay, while others may travel back home.
"Soon as the weather starts to warm up around here, we'll see people start to drift away again. I would say late April early May," Denton said.
The nomadic lifestyle is hard for some to understand.
"People don't realize, just because you're homeless, you're still a human being," Stone said.
Advocates from Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, Lifeworks and House the Homeless say they've also noticed an influx of people during the winter months.
The majority of the city's services for the homeless are located downtown.