San Antonio – Update 6:29 pm.
The City of San Antonio says its Human Services Department and non-profit partners started outreach on Tuesday and will continue through Sunday. Temporary overnight shelters opening up include:
- Haven for Hope
- Church Under the Bridge
- Corazon Ministries
- Life Restore Church
- City Church San Antonio
The city also says it will open up four warming centers from 12 p.m. on Thursday through 12 p.m. on Friday to provide short-term emergency shelter for the general public. The city advised anyone coming to the centers should bring clothes, supplies and medicine that they will need. Pets are also welcome.
Residents needing transportation to a warming center can call 311.
The warming centers are at:
- Garza Community Center (D7) - 1450 Mira Vista, 78228
- Harlandale Community Center (D3) - 7227 Briar Place, 78221
- Hamilton Community Center (D10) - 10700 Nacogdoches Road, 78217
- Denver Heights Community Center (D2) - 300 Porter Street, 78210
The City will open 4 warming centers to offer short-term emergency shelter beginning at 12pm on Thurs Jan 20 thru Fri Jan 21 at 12pm. Anyone coming to the centers should bring clothes, supplies and medicine that they will need. Pets are welcome.👨👩👦🐶🐱 pic.twitter.com/HpVumuICkw— City of San Antonio 💪+💉= 💯 (@COSAGOV) January 20, 2022
With temperatures set to drop starting overnight Wednesday, local groups working with people experiencing homelessness are preparing to help people living on the streets to weather the cold.
Temperatures are expected to reach freezing on Thursday and stay there into Friday. Precipitation is expected on and off throughout Thursday.
Haven for Hope’s winter sleeping program, which operates from December through March, provides a warm place to sleep with few barriers. You don’t need to be part of any Haven program, there’s no required COVID testing - though Haven does require masks, and pets are allowed.
Though Haven normally opens up its donation center for the program between 10 a.m. and 6 a.m., it plans to open at 6 p.m. Thursday night and allow people to stay until 9 a.m. Friday morning.
“Any folks who are experiencing homelessness, who are unsheltered, they are at risk of hypothermia, frostbite. We want to keep people safe as much as possible,” said Celeste Eggert, a vice-president and the chief development officer at Haven for Hope.
Haven has the capacity for up to 120 people to stay at its donation center. Though it has never reached maximum capacity, Eggert said the nonprofit has winter weather kits of snacks, toiletries, clothing, and sleeping bags ready to hand out in case they have to turn people away.
Come Friday morning, Eggert said they’ll transport anyone who needs it to the Corazon Day Center downtown, which will serve as a warming center and a resource hub.
Corazon San Antonio Executive Director Gavin Rogers said with the help of Christian Assistance Ministry, the day center at 504 Avenue E will open earlier than usual on Thursday and Friday, 7:30 a.m., and will likely open Saturday, too, a day when it’s normally closed.
The day center will stay open until 4 p.m., acting as both a warming center and a hub from which they can advise people which shelters have space.
Rogers said Corazon San Antonio’s emergency shelter at Travis Park Church will be open on Thursday and Friday, at least.
The Salvation Army of San Antonio’s shelter is already at capacity, and spokesman Brad Mayhar said they expect it to stay that way through the cold weather.
Once temperatures get to about freezing, though, he said the Salvation Army will provide a blanket to anyone they have to turn away.
Whereas they’d usually allow people to sleep in the lobby during these cold nights, that’s not an option at the moment because of the pandemic.
“It is frustrating because, you know, we want to be able to offer them something better than just, you know, taking a blanket. But, you know, with the COVID protocols, we don’t want to take care of one problem and then create an even bigger problem,” Mayhar said.
Mayhar said the Salvation Army would take a truck out Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. and distribute warm food and drinks.