(WTVM) - The cold that took our breath away a few days ago also took the life of a homeless man.
Paul Garner was found in a Columbus vacant lot, not far from a shelter.
A former classmate told News Leader 9 that Garner was homeless for more than 20 years.
Our area offers a large safety net for the homeless in the form of shelters, soup kitchens, churches and emergency services.
Yet how is it that a long-time homeless man on the coldest day of the year cannot be helped to stay alive?
There are at least 10 emergency shelters in the Columbus area. There is even a place called the Open Door Community House on 2nd Avenue, where the homeless can get a free shower.
But what can we do to help?
Experts who work with the homeless say you can always call the police to tell them where you have seen a homeless person who may need help. Officers are trained how to get them help.
It is a complicated problem because some homeless people are emotionally disturbed. But if you regularly see someone who is homeless, you can offer help.
If you have an extra blanket or an extra sandwich, ask if they, or someone they know, might need it.
Helping preserve their dignity is important to the homeless. You can also volunteer at a shelter or make a cash donation.
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906