Houston Homeless Services In Critical Response To Cold Weather

flickr image by Providence Homeless">Jack Newton
As temperatures dip below freezing this week, Houston's homeless are at high risk if they are unprepared for the cold weather.

On any given night in the Houston region, about 4,000 people are unsheltered and living on the streets, according to the Houston Coalition for the Homeless.

Another 4,000 are in shelters like Houston's Star of Hope Mission. Spokesman Scott Arthur says both of their shelters are full and people are now sleeping on the floor.

"With last night, 28 men sleeping on the floor of our men's shelter. And 74 women and children sleeping on the floor of our women and family emergency shelter. This is in addition to the full capacity."

Arthur says they and other homeless shelters will be sending vans out on the streets to look for the chronically homeless and ask them to spend the night inside.

Most of them will refuse.

"Over 80 percent of the people on the street have some sort of mental illness, and they're making bad decisions. And to not come in on a day like today or tomorrow is a bad decision."

Arthur says they hand out blankets, hats, coats and socks to the people who refuse shelter.He says most of the areas homeless shelters are in need of cash donations, as well as donated blankets and warm clothing as they try to help the homeless.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...