Homeless for a night

By Chauncy Glover - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)- When night comes and the cold temperatures settle in, many of us have homes with warm beds to go to, but there are some who aren't so fortunate.

The city of Columbus has become "home'" to booming numbers of homeless people.

We joined this group as they went homeless on the streets of Columbus for one night.

Malingo Byandu found it hard within the first three hours, not knowing If she was going to make it.

"The floor is hard and stuff, but just to be in their shoes makes you want to give more because you would never want to go through this on a daily basis," says Malingo Byandu.

"It's a little chilly out here, kind of tired, but at least we know we get to go back home tomorrow. Some people really don't have a choice."

Having to weather the cold winds of the night, some found it to be an emotional experience.

"At least I have a roof over my head some people don't have that. I just can't imagine being out here on the streets," she says.

3:00 a.m. ---it begins to rain.

Our cots are drenched. Some decide to wait it out until it slacked off.

Other's set up shop at a different spot.

"I was thinking this is what people have to go through in real life. They just have to tough it out, so that's what we did for a while, then we found shelter somewhere else," says Michael Stiggers.

For Simone Manning-Moon the thought of homelessness hits close to home.

Her brother, Norris Gaynor, seen here in this video, was beat to death while sleeping on a park bench in Ft. Lauderdale Florida in 2006.

His killers were charged with murder in October.

"He was sleeping and minding his own business and he was one of three people attacked that night when some young people went on a spree to hurt and kill homeless people," says Manning-Moon.

And the folks who went homeless for a night say they have a new out look on homelessness and the experience has taught them a life lesson.

"It's really sad to me, it makes me realize how blessed I am," says Erika Furk.

"This experience just really makes me appreciate the things I have," says Byandu.

Manning-Moon says, "We forget they are actually thinking and feeling people who are loved by someone and were raised by someone in this world."

A world that can be quite lonely for some.