City opens cold shelters, expected to operate next couple days

Austin

AUSTIN — The City of Austin’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) activated its cold weather shelters Tuesday. City officials expect the shelters to remain open for a couple of days as the freezing temperatures continue.

Single men or women that need shelter should report to the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, 500 E. 7th Street, by 5:15 p.m. Any families needing shelter should report to Salvation Army, 501 E. 8th Street, by 7 p.m.

Shelters were activated Dec. 10 when temperatures dipped near freezing. However, this is the third time since Veterans Day.

Since then, the city has helped shelter 727 people. Austin Public Health numbers show the breakdown:

  • Nov. 11: 257 people
  • Nov. 12: 256 people
  • Dec. 10: 214 people

RELATED: ECHO needs help counting Travis Co. homeless population

Yet, the most recent Ending Community Homelessness Coalition or ECHO Point in Time shows there are over 2,200 people who are homeless. That’s why HSEM’s Bryce Bencivengo said getting the word out is important.

“It’s critical that both our efforts to let people know as well as the efforts of the other agencies that touch folks experiencing homelessness know that there are options for them on nights when it’s especially cold,” Bencivengo said.

The KXAN First Warning Weather team says a freeze will stretch across the area Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The criteria for activating the shelters are temperatures falling below 35 degrees wet and 32 degrees dry, according to the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management office.

For more info, call the shelter hotline at 512-305-4233.

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