SAN ANTONIO — Local non-profits have united in helping the homeless community keep warm amid the frigid weather taking over Texas.
Corazon San Antonio and Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM) are among the organizations providing around-the-clock resources for the unsheltered population.
Corazon San Antonio’s Day Center serves as the main warming hub for the homeless community, providing hot lunch, showers, temporary shelter and case management resources.
Corazon San Antonio’s associate director Morgan Handley said the people they serve are chronically homeless.
“They are not homeless due to affordable housing, they’re not homeless due to the fact that they lost their job,” Handley said. “This is a lifestyle, not an episode of homelessness.”
Handley woke up Tuesday morning when she learned of the bitter cold temperatures and decided it was critical to open up the day center two hours early at 7:30 a.m.
Corazon San Antonio and CAM partnered to offer comfort and warmth to those living on the streets. Once the center closed down at 5 p.m. the organizations with the help of San Antonio police and city crews, offered rides to community members hoping to stay in a shelter overnight. Since not everyone cares for the shelter environment, the crews also go out to the homeless encampments and provide donated wintry wear, including hats, gloves and blankets.
“These are our people. I spend more time with these people than I do with my own family,” Handley said. “So getting them to say yes even if it’s just for a night, knowing tonight that they’ll survive and they have a warm place to go, that gives us the motivation to come back tomorrow and do it all over again.”
One of the primary organizations still accepting clients during the cold front is Haven for Hope, which has the capacity to accommodate 1,700 people in overflow. Terri Behling, Haven for Hope’s communications director, stressed they’ve yet to reach capacity and encourages anyone who knows someone who is houseless to bring them to the campus for intake, even if they don’t wish to partake in the programs offered.
The Haven for Hope donation center, which opens at 11 a.m. Wednesday, is piling up with blankets, coats, mittens and other winter clothing.
“Everyone who works at Haven for Hope has a passion for helping others and serving others,” Behling said. “Remember to treat everyone with dignity and respect so if you see someone or know someone experiencing homelessness, please let them know what resources are available in the community.”
The City of San Antonio runs a Homeless Connections Hotline Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The number is 210-207-1799.