Most ferals will not go into any sort of enclosed shelter, for fear of being trapped in. I have seen "feral beds", I think they were even called that, that were open in the front and the back, so that they had an easy escape. My feral would not even lay in a cat bed that had sides, only on something completely flat, and she has to be facing forward to see anything coming toward her. She LOVES this flat heated bed from K & H, it is a flat mat, about $35, and it only heats up when they lay on it, it goes off when they are not laying on it and it only heats up to 102. They are very low wattage and safe to leave plugged in. My feral sleeps in our garage during the winter, and she loves this mat. Funny thing, when she is in the garage, she absolutely will curl up in a regular cat bed with sides. I live in Florida, so it does not get too cold, but we do get temps in the 30's for a few weeks.
I think it's great that this kitty will take food off of a spoon. Patience has been the key in getting my feral to trust me. It took me 6 months to be able to lightly pet her tail as she was walking away. It was baby steps all the way to her letting us scratch her chin, and to pet her back, that took over a year to get to that point. Now, four years later, she JUST this week started jumping up into my lap. She wouldn't sit at first, and now she actually will sit and rub her head against me, and I have a feeling she will get more comfy on my lap soon and never want to leave
Those ferals in your neighborhood probably have somewhere that they go. Unfortunately, probably some of them crawl up into cars under the hood. I know my feral girl used to climb up into an RV that some neighbors had parked in their driveway, this was before she started sleeping in the garage. She also used to crawl into a space that was dug out (not sure if she did it or an armadillo maybe) underneath a neighbors shed. They always seem to find somewhere to go, although sometimes it's not the best place, like inside car engines.
It took a very long time to get my feral to come into the garage, in fact, I've been caring for her for 4 years now, and this is only the second winter she has been in there. Before that, she would sleep in a pile of blankets by the front door. But then she would take off sometimes because another cat would come around and hassle her, and she is very non-confrontational. I used to have to stay outside in the morning when I fed her to keep other cats from coming up and stealing her food. If you could get her to come into a garage or shed or screened porch, she might do it, and she'd probably feel a lot safer once she was in there. My little Arwen, she is quite at home now in the garage. I usually crack the garage around 9:00 pm, she comes right in, sometimes she meows for a few minutes, but then she settles right down and sleeps until the morning, when I feed her. On cold days, she stays in there all day long too. I would love to bring her in but I don't think she would stay in, and I have 4 inside cats, and she is very, very timid, I think two of them would be aggressive to her. And I'm not entirely sure of her health. But she is fixed, someone must have TNR'd her, she is ear tipped. To gain her trust, I just sat in a chair near where she ate and made no moves to pick her up, I just read a book or sat on my laptop. At first she would hiss at me, belly crawl toward the food, gobble it and run. She gradually got to where she would stick around and sit down after she ate the food, and now here we are four years later, with her now sitting in my lap, which I thought would NEVER happen. She still won't let me pick her up though, but I can half pick her up, under her front legs as long as the back ones stay on the ground.
Thank you for caring for this poor little thing.