Fort Worth Opens Emergency Homeless Shelters During Cold Spell – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Fort Worth is opening up to three emergency shelters for the homeless to provide beds in cold weather this week as traditional shelters have limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“This is my main concern. We hope no one freezes to death,” said Lauren King, executive director of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition when the shelters are full. We’re going to find out something as a community. “

King said Fort Worth plans to open an additional shelter at a time until each is full, and Arlington also plans to add additional capacity.

In the Presbyterian Night Shelter, the beds are now six feet apart, which means a lot less.

“COVID has had a dramatic impact on everything we do,” said Toby Owen, Presbyterian CEO. “As early as March, we had to reduce the capacity of our men by 50% and that of women by around 30%. We were in a position that we have.” We never had to do that. We had to turn people away due to lack of space. “

Capacity has increased a bit since then, but it’s still a challenge.

Homeless people are just starting to get vaccinated, and Owen said his clients’ infection rates are actually lower than the rest of the population.

“We’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

However, the capacity remains limited for the time being.

“There’s never an easy time being homeless,” said Owen. “It’s a tough lifestyle. But I can tell you that during COVID-19 it was unbearable for so many people. If you add COVID-19 plus the cold weather, it does.” it’s very, very challenging. “

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