It’s been a mild winter in North Texas so far, but many local organizations are planning for those bone-chilling nights and setting up a warm place for the unsheltered to stay.
According to Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA), the 2019 point in time count for Dallas and Collin Counties unsheltered is 1,452. The total number of homeless counted for both counties including emergency sheltered, safehaven and transitional housing is 4,538, up 9 percent from 2018.
The unsheltered homeless count was conducted by over 1,550 volunteers on Jan. 24, at about 8:30 p.m. when temperatures were in the 40s.
The breakdown of unsheltered homeless in Dallas County was 1,377 and Collin County was 75, according to MDHA.
Several faith-based organizations and the Collin County Homeless Coalition (CCHC) came together last year to begin offering overnight warming stations throughout Collin County through Plano Overnight Warming Station (POWS).
The Salvation Army-Plano will be Plano’s overnight warming station to offer short-term emergency housing when temperatures get dangerously low in order to prevent death and injury from exposure. The POWS will open when temperatures are forecast for 35 degrees with a 20 percent chance of precipitation or a standing temperature of 32 degrees and below.
The program operates from Nov. 1 through March 31.
When the weather gets near freezing, volunteers within the interfaith community will pick up homeless residents, register them at the Salvation Army, get them a hot meal, a place to sleep, and come morning, they’ll get them breakfast then drop them back off.
For information visit pows.collincares.org.
Liz McGathey contributed to this story.