In years previous, church buildings have helped shield folks from the chilly. However the Metropolis is just not utilizing any of them this yr as a result of COVID-19 issues.
AUSTIN, Texas – As Austinites bundled up on the coldest day to this point this fall, some sought shelter to flee the freezing temperatures anticipated Tuesday morning.
On Monday, the town of Austin activated its chilly climate shelters. Folks in want of warmth lined up exterior the Austin Central Library earlier than checking in and taking the bus to a shelter.
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“We count on minimums between 25 and 30 [degrees]relying on the place you might be within the metropolis, “Bryce Bencivengo, communications supervisor for the Workplace of Homeland Safety and Emergency Administration, instructed KVUE Monday night time.
This yr, the method works a bit in a different way. First, Metropolis employees will display folks for signs of COVID-19. Then, they are going to be transferred, on Capital Metro buses, the place the seats will probably be socially distanced, to city-owned recreation facilities. No church will supply shelter this yr.
“Historically, church buildings present volunteers who’re a bit older and have a excessive danger of issues from COVID-19, so we did not assume it might be a good suggestion to make use of them for that this yr,” Bencivengo stated.
In shelters, folks will probably be required to put on masks always besides when sleeping, and beds will probably be stored six toes aside.
In contrast to when Austin obtained hurricane evacuees off the Texas coast earlier this yr, the Metropolis is not going to use lodge rooms as shelter except somebody has signs of COVID-19. If an individual has signs, they are going to be taken to the isolation lodge on the town.
“We’re a bit extra comfy. I believe we all know a bit extra concerning the virus. We all know a bit extra about what we will do to maintain folks secure,” Bencivengo stated.
Nevertheless, the Metropolis is anxious that fewer individuals are making the most of chilly climate shelters this yr as a result of COVID-19 issues.
“We now have been telling folks to not meet or to not meet exterior their dwelling for eight and 9 months, so we do not understand how many individuals are going to make use of this service figuring out that … that is what we have now been asking for. so they do not do it, ”Bencivengo stated.
To succeed in out to the town’s homeless inhabitants about chilly climate shelters, service suppliers, first responders and associate organizations have been spreading the phrase. Some individuals who have cell telephones offered by a few of these service suppliers additionally obtained textual content messages.
On Monday night time, the Metropolis offered shelter for 55 folks.
As of Monday night time, the Metropolis didn’t anticipate reopening the shelters Tuesday night time as temperatures don’t meet the Metropolis’s standards for activating them.
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