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Millions of Texans lost electricity, water or essential services during a winter storm which led to freezing temperatures and dangerous road conditions throughout the state.
City authorities, local outreach teams and other organizations provide heated shelters and support to people seeking help. Many non-profit organizations also ask for donations so that they can help people who are homeless or who need help.
Here is a list of resources available if you need help. We organized it by location. If you want to skip to how to help go here.
Texans who have electricity in their homes can reduce their electricity use by lowering thermostats below 68 degrees, unplugging lights and appliances, and avoiding the use of large appliances like ovens and cookers. washing machine. For people without electricity or heat, the National Weather Service encourages people to close blinds and curtains, close rooms, and put towels in slits under the door.
State officials strongly discourage unnecessary travel due to unsafe conditions on the roads caused by snow and ice. If you need electricity and are able to travel, the Texas Emergency Management Division website includes a list of warming centers across the state.
Texans can find more details about community resources and warming centers in their area by calling 877-541-7905 or 211, the state’s 24-hour toll-free helpline. Information on specific local resources, support and advice can also be found on local city government websites and social media accounts.
Texans with disabilities can contact the Partnership for inclusive disaster strategies for resources and information. The organization can be contacted by emailing [email protected] or the 24/7 Disability and Disaster Hotline at 800-626-4959, which provides assistance to people with disabilities, their families and others seeking help for disaster-related needs.
Several statewide organizations provide services and seek donations to help residents of the state. The American Red Cross and branches of the Texas Salvation Army support several warming centers across the state, and people can donate on their websites. Feed Texas’ website includes details of local food banks, and anyone can donate to the organization here.
Mutual aid organizations are also organizing to provide food, shelter, support, transportation and other resources to people across the state. Mutual Aid Houston, Austin Mutual Aid, Feeding People Dallas, Para Mi Gente in San Antonio and many other local groups are all looking for donations. People should check the social media accounts of these organizations to find out how and what to donate.
How to help
If you have a lot of supplies, or you’re out of state looking to provide some help, here’s a list of organizations you can help with:
- Feed East Texas take donations here.
- You can donate to Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies here.
- Mutual Aid Houston, Austin Mutual Aid, Feeding People Dallas, Para Mi Gente in San Antonio and many other local groups are all looking for donations
- The Way Home, a coalition of Houston-area homelessness prevention organizations, calls for donations here
- You can find a list of organizations looking for donations in the Dallas area. here.
- Various organizations in Austin accept donations to help people who need resources to help the homeless or those in need of resources. Austin Area Urban League Hosts Emergency Campaign here and Front Steps, a nonprofit that provides resources to the homeless, is asking for general donations here
- The Rio Grande Valley Food Bank has also launched a winter storm relief campaign and anyone who wants to help can donate. here.
Various warming centers have opened in Houston, including Lakewood Church, the National Association of Christian Churches and other locations. The George R. Brown Convention Center opened as a warm-up center, but is at full capacity and is no longer accepting people, according to KHOU. A list of warming centers can be found on the Houston Homeless Coalition website. here.
Homeless outreach teams from the sheriff’s office, police department and homeless outreach groups worked to provide rides to the warming centers. Residents of the Houston area can call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 713-221-6000 or 311 for accommodation or transportation information.
The Sheriff’s Office (HOT) Homeless Outreach Team has provided items such as coats, blankets and tents to homeless people who are not in a warming center. People can donate here to one of the organizations of The Way Home, a coalition of organizations working to prevent homelessness.
If you are looking for places to find water, check out this guide via the Houston Chronicle.
Austin officials are encouraging people in need of heated shelters to visit Del Valle High School, Mendez College or Reilly Elementary School, which have limited space. The Palmer Events Center is full and future updates can be found at City of Austin’s Twitter and Facebook pages. The Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) also worked to create a list churches serving as winter shelters.
Austin ISD also has warm-up centers at Lee Elementary School, Murchison Middle School, Joslin Elementary School and Barrington Elementary School, open until 9 p.m. Thursday with limited supplies. Information on availability can be found on AISD Twitter and Facebook.
CapMetro resumption of limited services until 8 p.m. Thursday, and rates are suspended until Sunday. People who need to be transported to a heated shelter can call 311, and they can call the Cold Weather Shelter Hotline at 512-305-ICEE for more information on heated shelters. People can also email [email protected] with their name, phone number, address, people needing transportation, and medical needs, but authorities are urging people to reserve the use of e-mail to the most vulnerable population.
Various organizations in Austin accept donations to help people who need resources to help the homeless or those in need of resources. Austin Area Urban League hosts emergency fundraiser here and Front Steps, a nonprofit that provides resources to the homeless, is asking for general donations here.
If you’re looking for water, the Austin American-Statesman has a guide here.
The Henry B. González Convention Center is operating until Friday as a warm-up center, with the San Antonio Food Bank providing meals. Several homeless shelters have opened in churches, including Church Under the Bridge, Last Chance Ministries and Life Restored Church. A list of resources created by the Christian Assistance Ministry with details on accommodation can be found here, and information from the city of San Antonio can be found here.
Ministries and outreach teams are also looking for volunteers who can safely access shelters. Outreach teams from DHS, SAMMinistries, Haven for Hope, Corazon Ministries and other organizations have worked to transport homeless people to a shelter. South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless provides details of organizations seeking help on their Facebook page here.
The City of San Antonio Homeless Hotline at 210-207-1799 is available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline will help homeless people find resources. If people need help outside of these hours, they can leave a voicemail or email [email protected]
If you are looking for water, check out these resources here.
Dallas opened a warming center indefinitely at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where people will be provided with a chair, table and light snacks. The center also houses a homeless shelter for the homeless with beds and blankets. The city also provides heating stations in coaches with charging stations. Locations of all buses can be found here.
Fort Worth opened the Fort Worth Convention Center as an overnight shelter with cots. The city has also made a listing municipal boiler rooms open until 7 p.m. Thursday, as well as a list warming centers operated by other organizations. Residents of Fort Worth can call the elective line at 817-392-1234 for directions to one of the city’s warming centers and assistance with transportation. More details can be found here.
The Dallas Morning News has a guide to finding water here.
Rio Grande Valley
Warming centers opened in several cities in the Rio Grande Valley, including the Las Palmas Community Center to McAllen, Dustin Sekula Memorial Library in Edinburgh, the Ozanam Center in Brownsville and Breads & Fish in Harlingen. Mercedes city opened on Security dome shelter “until further notice,” according to a Facebook post. Shelters in the area recommend bringing prescription drugs, ID, phone chargers, and blankets.
The power outages also left many people in the area without food. The Rio Grande Valley Food Bank says residents in need of food can call 956-682-8101 and select option 2 to be referred to a nearby pantry. The food bank has also launched a winter storm relief campaign and anyone wishing to help can donate. here.
Check out these guides for how to get help
What are we missing? Email us at [email protected]
Disclosure: Feeding Texas has financially supported The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial support plays no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a suit list of them here.
Juan Pablo Garnham and Elvia Limón contributed to this report.