The winter storm could have been life-threatening for people experiencing homelessness if it weren’t for places like OurCalling, a Dallas faith-based shelter and the Salvation Army.
“We’ve registered 1,022 unique people over this timespan,” said OurCalling CEO Wayne Walker.
He said volunteers, staff, and even technology helped reach people in need.
“A guy experiencing homelessness heard on the radio, me talking about, 'Hey, Fair Park, we’re doing this. Anybody who needs help, download our app.' So the homeless guy downloads our app on his phone, and reports himself. He kind of takes a selfie and says, 'Hey, I’m here, I need help,'” said Walker.
Another place that served the community was the Salvation Army’s Plano Corps.
“We usually range from 65 to 80 on a normal night without this freeze, so that was a huge increase from what we’re used to seeing,” said Lt. Michael Cain, Commanding Officer for the Salvation Army’s Plano Corps.
Cain said it helped about 150 people throughout the storm. It was an around-the-clock effort to help people stay safe and fed.
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“I came here Wednesday at 6 o’clock in the morning, and I’m still here. I haven’t left. I haven’t been home to my bed. I slept on an air mattress, a couch, or wherever I could fall asleep. I’m going on about two or three hours of sleep a night. That’s what the staff and volunteers we do,” said Cain.
Families not only got a safe place to stay they also got resources on how to move forward after the storm.
“We had a mother and two children. We put them in a private room away from the general guests, and we gave them a little bit of privacy and protection and kind of watched over them. This morning, right after I get off this phone call, we’re going to be placing them in a Salvation Army shelter in the Metroplex. A case manager is helping them,” said Cain.
The Salvation Army of North Texas helped around 500 people at its locations these past several cold days.
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