Dallas shelter stays open overnight to keep homeless out of the cold

Local shelters worked together to get the homeless off the streets and out of the cold Saturday night.

Our Calling in Dallas is typically open in the day, but opted to stay open overnight.

“Some people think they can make it but they don't,” said Rickey Anderson.

Anderson has been living on the streets for about three years. He’s experienced enough cold nights to know how to survive them. 

“I sleep in warm clothes, hand warmers, feet warmers, and put on two pairs of socks. Double up your clothes, and probably survive if you're not just out in the open, if you get under a bridge somewhere.”

But on a windy night where temperatures fall below freezing, Anderson and others are choosing to get inside.

“We had friends that died from being out in the cold, they froze to death because they couldn't get anywhere, or get help at the time. That's why I come inside because you never know how cold it's gonna be.”

Our Calling worked with 15 other agencies to shelter and feed people for the night, using new software that tracks which shelters still have beds open, so they know where to send people.

“The different shelters are listed here and it shows you how many beds they have available for men and women, and so it gives us a real time availability to know where we can send people every single night,” said Our Calling Executive Director Wayne Walker.

The organization is providing shuttles to shelters with available beds and has been sending out cold weather alerts to the homeless all week through text.

“We’ve got thousands of homeless friends that are sleeping outside tonight, and this weather, there’s no excuse for them to be out in this weather, so we want to provide a safe and warm space to go,” said Walker. “There is no alternative, there is no rec center open, there is no library open, we want to be able to provide a place to keep people safe, to keep them alive.”

Representatives asked citizens to contact police if they saw anyone out in the cold Saturday night, so they could be brought to a safe place.