Organizations in North Texas are working around the clock to help the record number of people seeking food and housing aid.
Providing food, shelter and resources has been the mission of CitySquare in Dallas for decades, and the recent weeks with the COVID-19 crisis have risen a sharp rise in need.
“We are definitely seeing an increased demand for our services at CitySquare. We are having record numbers of families drive through our food pantry every day,” CitySquare President John Siburt said. “We are getting calls from people needing rental assists now that they are out of work.”
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The group's care for the homeless and unsheltered has taken on a new importance while facing down a pandemic. It is hard to shelter-in-place when you don’t have shelter.
“Homelessness was already a disaster for them. They were already in trauma and already in desperate need,” Siburt said. “We are trying to step up and give them transportation assistance to and from the temporary shelter and trying to house as many as possible though that is very difficult in the current shelter-in-place environment.”
CitySquare transportation staff have taken on a key role in the local fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Each day the team transports the homeless to-and-from emergency shelter locations and health appointments – having seen a nearly 50% increase in transports in a month’s time.
There are even drivers who are on standby to down full head-to-toe protective gear to transport unsheltered people to COVID-19 testing sites if they start to develop symptoms.
“We provided them with protective gear as best we can and we’ve taken extra measures to do deep cleanings and surface cleanings, but still these guys are out there every day having direct contact,” Edd Eason said. “We’re really proud of them.”