Advocate for the homeless speaks about downtown homicide victim - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Advocate for the homeless speaks about downtown homicide victim

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MADISON (WKOW)-- The danger of living on the street is a tough thing for many people to understand, but one Madison woman knows the struggles all too well

"I was homeless as a teenager," Carrie Riddle says. "I was sleeping in alleys and in parks."

It's a situation no one ever plans on experiencing. Living on the streets in dangerous situations.

"It's something I had to face everyday and not just rape or getting beat up, somebody would mess with you because you have more than they have. Even homeless people will steal from each other," Riddle explains.

With a full-time job and a place to live, Riddle now spends her free time helping the homeless. Tuesday's deadly beating victim Robert Kuntz was one of her regulars.

"He needed some foot powder once so I got him that. When he needed a tarp he'd let me know, " Riddle says.

While she had never met the suspect Justin Brooks, Riddle was well acquainted with Kuntz. She said he kept to himself, but was very kind and gentle.

"He always had a smile. He was never grumpy ever," Riddle says.

Kuntz was just one of the many homeless people she helps on her nightly visits.

Every night after working with the Madison Streets Department she loads up and hits the streets. Everything she hands out was purchased with her own money, save for a few dollars given to her by friends and family.

"I always try to keep lots of socks on hand. You can never have too many socks."

She even gives out her phone number so in the middle of the night someone in desperate need can get a hold of her.

"I don't think I'll ever stop," Riddle says. "I've made quite a few friends out here and they need my help. If I can help them, I'm going to."

Riddle says violence on the streets is a major concern for homeless people. She says several men have told her stories about being assaulted and raped while living on the streets. Many have also been spit on and urinated on by drunk people in downtown.

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