Homeless Outreach Teams Working Overtime to Offer Help

Shelter may still be available for the area's most vulnerable.
Shelter may still be available for the area's most vulnerable. Flickr/Diariocritico de Venezuela

Keeping your home safe and secure during the storm is a must, but what about those who don't have a home in the first place?

Sara Brown, communications director for the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, said "Outreach teams have been working with homeless individuals on the street to encourage them to seek shelter and offering to take them to shelter."

It's quite a task, given that there are "3,412 homeless individuals in Houston, Harris County, and Fort Bend County on a given night," according to the Coalition's website. (The site also has an interactive map detailing resources for homeless assistance services).

With a 320-bed capacity, the Star of Hope men's shelter downtown still has openings, Star of Hope communications director Scott Arthur said.

"We're offering immediate shelter to any of the men living in the streets, and seeking a safe, dry place to ride out the storm, so 24/7, they can come to our door and we'll be more than happy to take care of them," Arthur said. "Our outreach is going out and has been for the last couple of days and letting people know that that opportunity exists. We have found through experience that a lot of the men who are currently on the streets just want to stay on the streets, and they'll just hunker down. But our message is always, 'We are there if you need us.'"

Star of Hope's women and families is at capacity, but it's still possible there are openings at other shelters.

SEARCH Homeless Services' outreach team has also been working this week to help those on the streets, Brown said.

The Salvation Army is also working to help those in need. According to a press release, the organization is preparing for overflow at its four homeless shelters, including Harbor Light for men, Sally's House for women, Family Residence, and Conroe Red Shield Lodge for individuals and families. The shelters will not turn anyone away due to the storm.

The organization's "officers and trained volunteers are on call to provide spiritual support and immediate disaster relief manpower when the time arises," as well.

“The Salvation Army has more than 115 years of experience in disaster relief efforts since officers were first called to respond to the Galveston Hurricane of 1900,” said Major Kent Davis, Area Commander of The Salvation Army of Greater Houston. “It is because of this tradition of service and our mission to meet human need that The Salvation Army stands ready to help.

We hope everyone stays warm and dry.

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