Cold Temperatures Leave Houston Homeless Vulnerable

With temperatures expected to drop below freezing tonight, Houston's homeless population is especially vulnerable to the sudden temperature change. Homeless mission Star of Hope is doing its part to keep those who are exposed to the elements warm.

Most of the year, heat is the problem for Houston’s homeless. But while yesterday’s lows were in the 60s, temperatures could hit the low 30s tonight. This poses challenges for the homeless, especially for those who choose to stay outside.

The Star of Hope mission for the homeless is sending out a van to invite people living on the street to a shelter and hand out warm clothes and blankets. They call this “cold alert.”

Scott Arthur is with Star of Hope.

“We make the rounds, we go to places that we know the homeless are - pockets like under the bridges and in abandoned buildings and parks and even those that sleep in their car.”

On average, only four to five people a week take up the offer for a ride back to the shelter, regardless of how cold it gets.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of pride and desperation and mental illness out there and they don’t make the right decisions, they want to stay out on the streets. They call themselves Vikings. So, the best we can do is make sure that they’re comfortable.”

Reversely, in the summer months when it gets extremely hot, the Star of Hope mission goes on “heat alert” status. During that time, staff hand out water bottles.

 

Bio photo of Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Reporter/NewsLab Coordinator

Florian Martin is the KUHF NewsLab Coordinator. While guiding and overseeing interns, he works on his own stories and is always on call to cover breaking news and other media events...