Charity steps up to keep homeless kids out of the cold

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ATLANTA - A charity group is taking extra efforts to make sure homeless teens do not have to sleep in the cold tonight.

Channel 2 Action News went along with volunteers as they drove around Atlanta to find young people in desperate need of help.

"I was on the streets. I was in and out of Walmart, Waffle House, McDonald's," said Larry Crosby, who had just spent his first night in the Covenant House in northwest Atlanta.

"It's a blessing for them to welcome me here," Crosby said.

Covenant House Executive Director Allison Ashe says the goal is to break the cycle of poverty and crime. But with the cold snap, they're running over capacity.

"When we saw that the temperatures were dropping like they are this week, we brought in extra staff to be here in the shelter," Ashe said. "We want to make sure that if there are any kids out on the streets of Atlanta tonight that we find them."

That's where the street outreach team comes in, criss-crossing the streets of Atlanta to round up teens with no place to go.

"The predators come out. They know there are kids out there. They know they need a place to go. They're looking for them ready to exploit them," Ashe said.

Crosby says he's thankful for a warm place to sleep for the night.

"I would still be out on the streets. I would still be roaming the streets," he said.

On Thursday, the Covenant House volunteers and community leaders will sleep outside to raise money to run the shelter and increase awareness for homelessness.