AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin, Travis County, and community partners have activated 24-hour cold weather shelters across the city to protect people without housing from potentially deadly weather conditions forecasted for the coming days in the Central Texas area. Activation of emergency services are occurring within the health and safety guidelines required for COVID-19.
The city says that moving forward, cold weather shelters will be operating 24 hours a day for as long as conditions dictate. Those sheltering will be offered the opportunity to remain during the day and the upcoming nights.
The city says anyone needing shelter can report to the Palmer Event Center 900 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704 for services. Due to icy road conditions, bus service has been suspended. When limited Capital Metro service resumes, use routes 1, 7, 10, 20, 801, and 30.
Families with children may arrive at Downtown Salvation Army Shelter located at 501 E. 8th Street. Use bus routes 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10. As a partner in this effort, Capital Metro will not deny transportation to anyone due to lack of fare.
the city says clients with pets will not be turned away; pets will receive accommodation through Animal Services.
"We are working to make sure every person who seeks warmth can access it," Juan Ortiz, Director of Homeland Security Emergency Management said. "This is a dangerous situation; please seek the shelters and warming facilities that are available."
In response to "historic" and severe winter weather conditions affecting Central Texas, the City of Austin and Travis County have also asked the Austin Disaster Relief Network to provide "Church" Warming Centers to provide close-in-proximity shelters throughout the Greater Austin area for individuals or families that are not able to travel to south shelter locations.
ADRN has launched www.adrn.org/shelters as a webpage for the public to get the latest church shelter information (updated frequently).
The following churches have opened as of February 16, 2021:
- The Austin Stone 1150 McNeil Rd.Round Rock, TX 78681
- Friendship Creekside 14455 FM 1826 Austin, TX 78737
- Hope Chapel 1508 Ruth AvenueAustin, Texas 78757
- Mosaic Church 12675 Research Blvd.Austin, Texas 78759
- Point Community Church 11300 Old San Antonio Road Manchaca, TX 78652
- Twin Lakes Fellowship 1150 S. Bell Blvd.Cedar Park, TX 78613
- University Ave Church of Christ 1903 University Ave.Austin, TX 78705
The city says Community groups have mobilized to support the efforts, and agencies have received multiple generous offers to help, including donations, dollars, and volunteers. CoA says Partners are helping with food donations and volunteering to staff the overnight shelters.
In addition to the City-operated shelters, community organizations are working to provide hotel vouchers for the coming nights. Organizers say they are establishing safe methods to accept monetary donations from the community and will share information about how residents can support these efforts as soon as possible.
The Austin Area Urban League has launched an emergency donation drive, called the #LoveThyNeighborTX campaign, to accept monetary donations. If you want to donate a warm blanket, Front Steps say they are accepting blankets at their downtown location, or you can order the blanket online and have it shipped directly to the shelter.
"As a community we are facing an incredible challenge: how to keep people safe from the elements and COVID-19 at the same time," said Stephanie Hayden-Howard, Austin Public Health Director. "Caring folks from across the community have stepped up to provide for their neighbors in an incredible way. The City stands with these leaders, working to ensure that resources are coordinated and accessible to everyone who needs them."
The City says it appreciates the concern and support from residents. However, safety is the top priority. With these current icy conditions continuing into Tuesday and possibly over the next few days, the city asks for help by staying off the roads so first responders can get to those most in need. The city says if you are in need of food in coming days, you are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 or visit 211texas.org.
The city says everyone can contribute by conserving energy to protect from rotating outages. Turn down thermostats to 68-degrees, closing shades and blinds to reduce heat lost through windows, and turning off lights and unplugging non-essential lights and appliances.
As conditions evolve, information about Cold Weather Shelter will be kept up to date at https://www.austintexas.gov/department/stay-safe.
For more info call the 24/7 hotline: 512-305-4233
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