AUSTIN (KXAN) — As winter weather rolls into Central Texas in waves this week, outreach groups and local government are working to get resources to people experiencing homelessness. If the forecast holds, it’s likely cold weather shelters will open through the City of Austin later this week.
“We need help. We need help bad,” said Anthony, a homeless man living in a tent off of I-35.
In the meantime, the CEO and founder of We Can Now was out with an intern Monday passing out warm, dry clothes to people. The weather that rolled through overnight Sunday into Monday left many people wet and cold.
“A lot of people get to go in, turn on the heat, get some hot cocoa, sit on their couch and be comfortable but for people experiencing homelessness, that’s not the case,” Antony Jackson said.
Jackson said because of the camping ban pushing people into more remote parts of our city, that process has become more difficult.
“They had to go into wooded areas because they couldn’t really be out in the public which makes it hard for service providers like we can now and other service providers in the city to locate people to give them the resources, especially in times like this,” Jackson said.
Austin-Travis County EMS says with people camping near creeks, Monday’s heavy rain brought flooding concerns. ATCEMS said they’re worried about hypothermia and other cold weather-related calls later this week.
“Our community health paramedics will be offering transport options to some of the warming centers that we expect will be activated later on this week based on the current forecast,” Captain Darren Noak said.
For people like Anthony, this week of freeze concerns will be a challenging one. He’s leaning on community members and resource groups to stay safe as he shuffles from camp to camp, trying to avoid police.
“They need to help us out or something, some kind of way, so we won’t be in no situation like this,” he said.