Some Homeless Would Rather Sleep in the Cold Than Seek Warm Shelter

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - Extreme cold weather has touched just about every region of the country this winter, including here in Utah. And when the temperatures drop, many Americans have a place to keep warm at night, but some of the homeless people in the Beehive State say that they'd rather sleep on the street in the cold and not take advantage of the many homeless shelters.
 
"When it's really cold and a person normally be like running into their house, I'm out here," said "Michael Ortega, who is homeless.
 
On Saturday, people living Salt Lake City, were faced battling temperatures in the 20's, but that wasn't enough for some to seek shelter.
 
"These nice people just gave me this nice little outfit so I should be okay for a little while," Edward McGraugh told ABC4 Utah while standing in front of the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake. "I don't like going inside here. I stay outside most of the time because of bad vibes and a lot of drugs. A lot of bad things go on inside and it just needs to be controlled better so I stay outside."
 
Good4Utah's Brittany Johnson spoke to some of the shelters in the Salt Lake area who say they never turn away any of the homeless people looking for help, a hot meal, or a place to stay. 
 
A recent survey conducted by Salt Lake County revealed 69 percent of homeless wanted shelter while 21 percent would rather sleep outdoors.
 
"There's a shelter," Ortega said, referring to the Rescue Mission behind him, "if I ever want to treat myself to go indoors. I personally stay outside a lot of times because it kind of empowers me to find out what amazing conditions the human body can survive through."
 
"They (shelters) help you out, you just gotta do what they want you to do and if you don't want to do that then don't come down here," said McGraph.
 
McGraph also said though he chooses to sleep outside and not in one of the shelters, staying out of the cold isn't always easy.
 
"You cannot pitch a tent in the Salt Lake City limits. People do it just to stay out of the bad weather. I've been told to get my tent down and get out of here, to leave. To stay out of the bad weather is all we were trying to do," explained McGraugh.
 
"I've had some of the best sleep of my life, some of the best mornings, and some of the coldest nights out here," expressed Ortega.

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