Austin homeless shelters preparing for coldest temperatures in decades

Austin homeless shelters are preparing for the coldest temperatures in decades

An Arctic explosion that reached Texas could bring Austin temperatures down into teenage Sundays.

With Austin weekend temperatures expected to be lower than they have been for decades, the homeless are hoping the people who live outside will seek shelter.

An Arctic explosion that reached Texas could bring Austin temperatures down into teenage Sundays.

“The air mask is mighty cold, the coldest we’ve seen here in over 30 years,” said Scott Fisher, chief meteorologist for FOX 7 Austin.

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The freezing temperatures are also not short-lived. “I think the biggest downside to that is the length of time we could possibly be at or below freezing point. We’re talking, not a couple of hours or a period of night, it can be a day, a day and a half, two days of 32 degree weather or colder in Austin, “said Fisher.

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“It’s going to be very dangerous this week if that cold front comes through,” said Jason Whaley, communications manager for the Salvation Army Command in Austin.

The danger is to pipes, plants, pets, and people outdoors who can potentially freeze.

“This is going to be many, many hours at or below freezing point. And you really need a source of heat to stay safe and healthy in this environment,” said Fisher.

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For Austin’s homeless population, the warning is terrible.

“We are talking about hypothermia, which sets in quickly in these freezing temperatures. And of course we in the Salvation Army are always afraid that people are on the street, do not have adequate clothing and do not have adequate blankets and therefore we encourage everyone to seek protection” said Whaley.

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Usually the Salvation Army will reach the homeless population before a freeze hits the Austin area. It doesn’t do the same thing with COVID-19 concerns. This worries Salvation Army leaders, who fear that some people might try to try the street, and think this is like any other cold front in Austin.

“This is going to be new to Austin as we have never seen or seen these kinds of temperatures for a long period like this,” said Whaley.

Salvation Army workers say no one will be turned away once temperatures drop below freezing and that security measures will be in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

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