Mayor tries to convince homeless man to come in from cold - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mayor tries to convince homeless man to come in from cold

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Mayor A C Wharton tried to convince Mr. Earl to come in from the cold. He won't so MPD will check on him all night (Matt Gerien / FOX13 News) Mayor A C Wharton tried to convince Mr. Earl to come in from the cold. He won't so MPD will check on him all night (Matt Gerien / FOX13 News)
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Two warming centers are open in the city of Memphis Monday evening as the low is expected to dip to 7 above zero.

Police officers and firefighters are on the lookout for homeless people who need shelter. Even with all the help available, some won't come in from the cold.

MORE: Memphis shelters in overflow mode during cold weather
MORE: Winter Weather Resource Guide


Driving by you might not see him lying there on the corner of Union and Danny Thomas. Next to the shopping cart and under the pile of blankets is Earl McCullough's home. Though the temperature will drop to the single digits, this is where he chooses to be.

Rachel Cody Alexander saw him there. She pulled over to bring him a blanket.

"You want another one?," she said.

"No ma'am. Oh this is nice, thank you ma'am."

Earl's been living on the streets of Memphis for two years...

"It was rough last night because I couldn't even keep the covers on it," Earl said.

Homeless advocates have tried to convince him to head to the shelter for the night, but he's stubborn.

Rachel is doing what she can to help.

"Just one or two blankets, is going to help him," she said. "Could you sleep out here, you know what I mean? Could you survive out here? Probably not. I know I couldn't."

With the temperature dropping there's a push across Memphis to get the homeless into shelters like the Union Mission. The shelter is housing about 100 more than they normally would. The dining room was full Monday evening as Mayor A C Wharton helped serve dinner.

While he was at the mission Mayor Wharton heard about Earl. The mayor decided to head out and try to convince him to come in from the cold, his chief of staff and fire director in tow.
    
"You know how cold it's going to be tonight?," the mayor asked.

But Earl is set in his ways. "I want to sleep here tonight."

Even the mayor himself couldn't convince him to seek shelter.

"There's no such thing to say you can't change your mind," Mayor Wharton said, who ordered police and firefighters to drop by to check on Earl throughout the night.

"If you're out here and you're in peril you're cold, you don't have a place to go," Mayor Wharton said. "Whatever the situation may be, just understand that it does not have to be that way."

Mayor Wharton said help is just a phone call away. He's asking everyone in the city to look out for each other.

Earl appreciates the attention, but he says all he needs tonight are those extra blankets.

"I'm kind of an old man set in his ways," he said. "I don't mean to be that stubborn or nothing. It's just something I like to do."

There is still room at the Union Mission and the city's two warming centers are open for anyone who needs to get away from the cold.

Earl was thankful for his extra blankets and the mayor says he's going to make sure police officers check on him.

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