Homeless Shelters Filling Up As Temperatures Drop

Alan Scaia
November 14, 2018 - 6:26 am
Homeless Shelter

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - More homeless shelters are opening as North Texas runs through a stretch of overnight lows in the 20s.

DFW Airport normally has its first freeze November 22. The first freeze last Saturday was the region's earliest since 1993.OurCalling is an outreach center in Dallas that is normally only open during the day. OurCalling opened as an emergency shelter Monday night, with 120 people staying. Wayne Walker, the founder of OurCalling, says he expects bigger crowds as cold weather continues.

"For us, it's really just kind of 'flip a switch' and call the troops in," he says. "We had people from the city responding, the police department and individuals bringing homeless people they were seeing on the street."

Walker says 10,000 homeless people are staying in Dallas County, but the county only has 2,000 beds. He says OurCalling is working with churches and other shelters to make sure people have a place to stay.

"Those collaboration opportunities are vital throughout the year," he says. "Working with all those shelters and churches as well requires a huge collaboration effort to communicate with them. We're sitting here texting all night long to figure out how many spaces they have available."

At Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, volunteers say they decided to open overnight with 13 people staying Monday night.

"They're super grateful," says the church's Heather Gottas. "A lot of the people who were in here were here last year. They're our regulars. They're family, and they come here because they know they are family."​

Gottas says she also expects more people as word spreads the church is open. Oak Lawn UMC is working with churches in Plano and Garland to provide shelter space for homeless people.

At OurCalling, Walker says the greatest need is donations of blankets. He also urges people to get involved with an organization that helps people find shelter.

Online: Donate to Our Calling | Volunteer at Our Calling