El Paso County woman goes undercover as homeless person

EL PASO COUNTY — A Colorado Springs woman went undercover as a homeless person on Monday, the coldest day in January this year.

Connie Whisenhunt is passionate about helping the homeless community. She also owns Connie’s Cupboard, a thrift store on the south side of Fountain.

At her shop, she welcomes the homeless community every day by giving them clothing, food, and toiletries.

“The homeless are not invisible,” Whisenhunt said. “I care and I help and I want to be there for them and that’s what I do,” Whisenhunt said.

But on Monday, with high temperatures in the single digits, Whisenhunt was begging on I-25 and Tejon Streets in Colorado Springs. She said she was there for over an hour and a half and counted 180 cars passing.

“I got a six pack of cupcakes and a packet of hand warmers. No money was given, people hardly looked at me,” Wisenhunt said. “People looking at me were very judgmental or making comments to themselves.”

After begging, she checked herself into a homeless shelter. She said she met many other people in the homeless community and heard their stories. She said she was overwhelmed by the amount of people who just lost their luck.

“At 8 o’clock I was overwhelmed, I was shaking from the cold, my chest hurts, my stomach hurts, I was crying and it’s sad,” Wisenhunt said.

Now, she says, she wants to learn from her experience as a homeless person and continue her work to help the homeless community.

“I think experiencing something like this definitely enlightens you and gives you more knowledge on how to respond, help and continue to care for people in this situation,” Whisenhunt said.

On Tuesday the following day she also helped her friend Dave, who regularly goes to her shop. She added that Dave doesn’t have a home but is well known in the community. During the extremely cold temperatures, she had learned that Dave had frostbite on his feet. Dave was taken to a Denver hospital by helicopter, and Whisenhunt said she would pick him up after he was treated and discharged.

“I love Dave, I love our community and I love the homeless. They’re not invisible,” Whisenhunt said.

For more information on Whisenhunt and her business, Connie’s Cupboard, click here.

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