MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Jimmy Stokes didn't know people were living in the woods near his neighborhood.
"I'm extremely shocked.," Stokes said. "I had no idea that anybody was living in the woods outside of a neighborhood."
The homeless encampment is behind a Firestone store across a field in a wooded area at Austin Peay Highway and Covington Pike.
A trip into the camp shows tents set up and clothes on a clothesline. A man who did not want to be identified said he has been in the woodsy encampment for almost three years.
"Being in the woods this time of year, you better have heat of some sort and you better have lots and lots of clothes," the man advised.
The man says he became homeless five years ago. "I used to own a house in Northwood Hills. Wound up making some very bad life choices. I just messed up."
He says he was an electrician and did heating and air. Now he begs for money for food and whatever he needs.
"I don't drink," he added. " I don't drug."
The forest encampment is one of many around the city. Under an overpass at 385 near Winchester, there is a large encampment where homeless people live.
Several organizations are trying to help.