FORT WORTH, Texas - Several shelters across the Metroplex are opening their doors with the freezing temperatures Thursday night.
In Fort Worth, the overflow shelter is on standby, ready to help people last minute if the cold becomes unbearable.
"It’s difficult. Very, very difficult. A lot of people forget that there’s people out here struggling, going through things," Michael Hudson said.
Freezing temperatures are in the forecast, prompting North Texas homeless shelters to open their doors again overnight.
"Trying to find a shelter or put up a tent. Trying to find a donation for a tent or something," Hudson said.
Bruce Frankel is executive director of DRC Solutions, a group contracted by the city of Fort Worth to open emergency shelters.
"When the weather gets really cold, usually 40 degrees or lower, then the city of Fort Worth will tell us to be on standby," Frankel explained.
He stays in close communication with the larger shelters on East Lancaster.
If any of them run out of beds, they can direct people to the flag building on Lancaster, where Frankel’s staff is waiting to help screen for COVID and provide transportation to overflow shelters.
Typically, it operates 20 to 30 nights per year.
But this winter, it hasn’t had to open yet.
"As a community, the last year in particular, we’ve done a really good job of getting people off the streets and into housing and we just have less demand right now for emergency shelter," he said.
In Dallas, temporary cold weather shelters have opened up at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church and OurCalling.
Richard Robinson is relieved to know he’ll have a bed, a warm meal, and a safe place out of the elements.
"That’s the amazing part about it. You can sleep here tonight. Cause it’s cold outside," he said.
Pastor Wayne Walker, with OurCalling, said he hopes that opening up Thursday night helps prevent the frostbite and hypothermia that many of his regular visitors have experienced before.
"This kind of weather is fatal for folks. Especially when you talk about people who are elderly, people who are disabled, people that already have compromised health systems. This can be really nasty," Walker said.
His advice is for people to take a moment to consider even the smallest ways you might be able to help.
"You can volunteer, you can serve, you can bring coats and blankets, you can help pay for some of the meals. It’s an opportunity for the community to serve our most vulnerable citizens," he added.
Those supplies are critical because, sometimes when weather is cold but not cold enough for the shelters to open up overnight, people are in need of warm coats, hats and gloves. It might be the only protection from the cold they get all season.