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Beneath Chicago Streets, Homeless Huddle In The Cold

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Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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(CBS) – For most of us, the Thanksgiving weekend is a time to join family and good friends, to celebrate America’s plenty and to be grateful for all that.

But that is not the reality for all of us, CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

A mean, cold Chicago night, and under the main drags of downtown — beneath Lake and Wacker and Randolph streets are the lost. It’s where they sleep.

There are an estimated 116,000 homeless in Chicago. Many of them camp out beneath the city, wrapped in tattered, filthy blankets.

But Good Samaritans like community activist Andrew Holmes bring them food, soap and occasionally a brand-new pillow.

“These are, once upon a time, somebody’s little children, somebody’s little precious pride and joy. Something went wrong somewhere along the line, and they need help,” Holmes says.

Despite their circumstances, they have some pride.

“I own all kinds of things — it’s just for a certain reason, a certain moment in time,” man named Brian says.

Red has been homeless since 1985, and has been living in a makeshift bedroom amidst the concrete for two years. He has a radio and some books.

“You’ve got to read and stay up on what’s happening in the world. You can’t just close up,” he says.

Red prefers living here to the shelters around the city. He’s frightened of them.

“Sometimes you can see things that you don’t want to see,” he says.

If every homeless person in Chicago was willing to go into the shelters, there would not be enough beds. There are only about 13,000 beds.

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