As temperatures begin to plummet, North Texas shelters are preparing for an influx of people looking for help. A group of volunteers and medical professionals spent the day in Fort Worth trying to make sure the homeless are prepared.
46-year-old Willie has been on the streets of Fort Worth for a year after falling on hard times. He’s been waiting for life to give him the slightest of a break. As he worried about the incoming cold weather, he said his help came at the hands of angels in overcoats.
Volunteers with Hands of Hope homeless outreach and medical professionals with US Veterans’ Affairs and JPS Medical Center traveled around Fort Worth; checking out areas where homeless people live.
“We want to talk to as many people as we can. We want to get to as many area locations as we can,” Janet Ramsey with Hands of Hope said. “Get the van loaded up and make sure that we do our part.”
The van was loaded with care packages that included hats, hand warmers and toiletries. The medical professionals could also give quick medical care. It all came with a warning.
“We want to give them as much forewarning as we can that tonight is going to be cold... don't try to tough it out,” John Ramsey with Hands of Hope said.
They raced the clock, the dropping temperatures and the real life situations on the streets.
“They'll try to drink their way through it in some cases and lay down to go to sleep and may not wake up,” John Ramsey said.
They are careful to not offer items that give false security; such as tents.
“That tent very well could cost somebody their life. If those temperatures drop and they are not prepared for those temperatures to drop and they try to tough it out in a tent,” John Ramsey said.
The real goal is to get them into shelters for the night, though most still choose not to do so.
“They may have had a bad experience or heard of a bad experience [at a shelter],” John Ramsey said.
They are not deterred though, because for every “no” there is a chance they will meet someone like Willie.
“I think if the ‘temps’ drop, I do see him at least getting on a bus and at least tonight [going] to the emergency shelter,” John Ramsey said.
“If not tonight then tomorrow, but we’ll be back out trying daily,” Janet Ramsey said.
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