Shelters generally provide accommodations from 6 p.m. until 11 a.m. Each person is provided dinner, breakfast and access to shower and laundry services.

The man — who said he has an associate’s degree in engineering from a community college and now works cooking and handing out fliers for a pizza shop — said he sparingly uses a propane-powered heater and nestles in between two sleeping bags in a fetal position to sleep overnight, preferring his tent to dealing with what he sees as rules on top of rules for staying in public shelters. He said he became homeless from a combination of drug use and a lot of other issues that “snowballed.”

Kevin Lindamood, president of Health Care for the Homeless, said advocates, shelter staff and outreach workers go to strive to provide trustworthy services to Baltimore’s homeless population.

Bone-chilling cold weather has prompted the city to intensify efforts to get all homeless people indoors overnight and into shelter beds, the Pugh administration said Tuesday.

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“Don’t think we’re just a bunch of bums, getting all high,” he said. “You try this. It is not easy. I have a little thermometer in there. It’s funny to wake up in the morning and see you’re sleeping in a freezer at 2 below.”

“Sometimes no matter how cold it gets, I have known people who paradoxically felt safer on the street,” Lindamood said. “The process of relationship building takes time — sometimes days or months or years. That process does not move in a pattern aligned with the weather.”

One person has died of hypothermia this winter in Baltimore. Last winter, 11 people died.

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