Surviving in the Shadows: Alan Williams spends a night on the streets

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.(WVLT )- Chris, a homeless man living on the streets for 4 years told me (Alan) from his home in the woods,
"There's safety in numbers, you don't know who's crazy
somebody came back here with a machete and could kill you."

Their camp is just yards away from the site of three murders.

Drinking, drugs and stealing. They say it's this "stupid stuff" that keeps them out of the mainstream of life.

But for women, this place can be even scarier.
Angela said, "Course it is, I take a chance everyday,"

Angela sleeps with a weapon by her side. She's part of a growing trend, more women and more young people on the streets.

Cody is 18.
"I was born here in Knoxville, my momma was strung out on drugs, my daddy wasn't around."
Cody lived in 9 to 10 foster homes before giving up

"Do you curse god for where you are?, sometimes, sometimes I do, when I was 16 my best friend was shot in the head in front of me"

About 3 miles away under an I-40 bridge, at least 5 people this night, 2 are in jail, that left Mandi alone.

"I drink, I'm an alcoholic, I've been an alcoholic since I was 12, I'm 35."

Mandi showed Alan her home. "This is a spare bed, its clean, my boyfriend's sister washes the sheets every other day."

But Mandi isn't scared, her comfort is a bottle.
"I look forward to drinking in the morning, that's what gets me through the day, it's sometimes what helps me sleep".

Not so easy for me.

"It's about 3 o'clock in the morning, I had to pack up my bags and knapsack and leave-2 guys trying to start a fight
saying I was sleeping on their bed, so I got my things, and I'm heading out."

I survived the shadows, but for those left behind,
"I have nightmares"
"I've got hope, I've got God, I' ve got my friends."

For information on the Karm Camp Out click the link below.

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