Man Braves Bitter Cold While Homeless Veteran Stays in His Home
Eric Jungels' project "Home By Christmas" raises funds for the homeless.
— -- A man helping to end homelessness is braving North Dakota's winter on the streets, while offering his home to a homeless vet.
"The reason I'm staying out is really to shine a light on the homeless situation, just to get people to notice the problem," Eric Jungels of Fargo, North Dakota, told ABC News. "When you see a homeless person it doesn’t necessarily register because maybe you see a lot of them. I'd like to drum up some support, attention and contributions. Some folks don’t have a place to go. Nobody should be homeless."
Jungels, 31, said he got the idea for his charity project while jogging one Thanksgiving night.
"I couldn't stop thinking about how incredibly thankful I was to have a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in at night," he said. "My hands stung and my feet were numb from the bitter cold."
This year, Jungels, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, opened his condo to another homeless veteran who will remain there while Jungels sleeps outside until Christmas Eve.
"He was homeless for five or six months without telling any of his fellow soldiers," Jungels said. "Maybe he was a little bit embarrassed. I was a little heartbroken over it. He’s a hard worker and he’s just a great person. He’s welcome to stay at my place as long as he needs to. I'm just glad that he has a warm place to stay during the holidays."
In order to help minimize homeless cases, Jungels has been sleeping in a tent outside of a local restaurant.
He began the project, "Home By Christmas," on Dec. 15 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and will end it on Christmas Eve.
"I want to surpass $10,000," Jungels said. "Sleeping in the tent, it's just a confirmation that it's no way to live. I really didn’t even need to sleep outside to feel a sense of frustration. The idea of somebody to have to spend a night outside, I cant fathom it."
So far, Jungels has raised over $6,000 on his fundraising page, which will be donated to The National Alliance to End Homelessness, he said.
After Christmas, Jungels added, he will help his once-homeless guest move into his newly obtained home.